Top story

Real Good Food (RGD) finance director Mike McDonough is leaving the group as a result of operational changes following the £34m sale of sugar business Napier Brown back in April.

The group has decided to relocate the finance function to the London head office, as well as devolving greater financial responsibility and accountability to” strengthened” local finance teams in the individual business units.

McDonough, who is currently based in the North West in Liverpool, handed in his notice as a result of the planned move. He will leave the business at the end of August, but Real Good Food said he would remain available to provide support to the company over the coming months.

“The board would like to thank Mike for his contribution, both as finance director of Renshaw and since 2009 as Real Good Food finance director, where he played an important role in the recent corporate initiatives, and wishes him every success in his future career.”

In a trading update in June, the group said it was focusing on the growth opportunities of its cake decoration, food ingredients and premium bakery businesses following the completion of the sale of its troublesome sugar business.

Morning update

Listed brewer Marston’s (MARS), which makes Pedigree and Hobgoblin, said in a trading update for the 41 weeks to 18 July that it had continued to make profitable progress in line with expectations. In ts brewing division, own-brewed beer volumes, excluding Thwaites, were up about 4% compared with last year. Including Thwaites, own-brewed beer volumes were up 10%.

CEO Ralph Findlay said: “In brewing, the post-acquisition integration of Thwaites’ brewing business is now complete and has gone well. Our strategy is well-suited to leveraging market growth in local, premium and craft beers, and the increasing importance of the off-trade.”

It added the recently announced government plans to introduce a mandatory Living Wage by 2020 were consistent with its expectation that the gap between the minimum wage and the living wage would close over time. The brewer said the additional cost of meeting the higher target of £9 per hour by 2020 would mean wage costs would be “modestly greater” than expected, but the impact was mitigated by the fact it had anticipated increases above the rate of inflation, and the lower rate of corporation tax from 2017. “Our view remains that government should prioritise taxation and business rate reductions to reduce the cost of doing business and increase consumer confidence,” it added.

Share price movements

Unlike Wetherspoons, whose shares plummeted on the back on negative comments about the new living wage, Marston’s stock is up on this morning’s update by 1.8% to 157.9p.

Real Good Food’s share price has soared almost 65% since the Napier Brown deal from a low of 31p back in April to a year-long high of 56p this morning – up 3.7% on yesterday’s close.

Shares in PZ Cussons fell 3p yesterday to 356p after it reported falling sales and profits. The slide has continued today, with its stock down 0.7% so far to 354.7p.

Associated British Foods (ABF) is experiencing share price volatility as the price of sugar slumped to a six-year low on Monday. Its shares are down 0.6% today to 3,184p. Tate & Lyle (TATE), conversely, has opened 2.4% higher today at 523p.