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Young’s Seafood is set to embark on the acquisition trail to consolidate the market and rebuild its top line following the loss of the £100m contract with Sainsbury’s.

The Grocer has an exclusive interview with Young’s CEO Pete Ward in which he discusses the latest set of accounts for 2015 which are about to be filed to Companies House.

He also gives details of an acquisition strategy signed off by the private equity owners of the brand, who are seeking to rebuild value in the Young’s business.

Ward talks about what the business has done since losing the Sainsbury’s salmon processing contract to rival Marine Harvest in June last year and the outcome of a strategic review intended to grow revenues, protect profitability and keep a close control over costs.

“We’re not a damaged business which has its head in its hands,” he said. “We’re upbeat; we’re starting to WIN in the commercial market place, we have exciting innovations coming, we continually reorganise and we have supportive owners who want us to go out there and consolidate and acquire other businesses. It is very bright and rosy in Grimsby.”

Sales in the year to September 2015 fell just more than 1% but the group managed to increase profits 6% as a result of its cost management systems.

You can see the full story here, to be followed by a Q&A with Ward exploring a range of other subjects.

Morning update

Premier Foods (PFD) has issued a short statement to the London Stock Exchange this morning confirming its relationship agreement with Japanese group Nissin Foods. The owner of Mr Kipling and Bisto has today formally entered into the agreement on terms and conditions that “are customary for a substantial shareholding of this nature”. Nissin also have a right to appoint a non-executive director to the Premier board as a result of it holding more than 15% of the business’ shares, which is picked up from private equity firm for 63p.

The statement has no further details but it marks the end of the saga which saw US spice firm McCormick table three bids – 57p, 60 and 65p – which were all rejected by Premier despite representing a big premium to the current market value. Premier’s shares have crashed by more than 30% since McCormick walked away from the bid and a number of investors voiced their frustration at how the board handled the pursuit.

Premier said the cooperation agreement with Nissin could boost growth over and above the 2%-4% figure that under pressure CEO Gavin Darby had already provided in the upgrade he provided from its previous 1%-2% guidance. Darby plans to leverage Nissin’s R&D and existing patents to reformulate and relaunch a host of its own-product lines.

Shares in Premier have risen 1.3% this morning to 39.8p, halting the declines which have seen another 7% fall off its value this week.

Sales are fizzing at English wine producer Chapel Down, up 34% to £8.2m, as the popularity of its brands grown. Wine sales were up 27% in 2015, while beer and cider was up 50%. EBITDA increased slightly from £478,000 to £507,000 and margins of 36.9% were maintained. Chapel Down has just completed a £1.7m crowdfunding campaign for its Curious Drinks beer and cider business to build a new brewery in Kent.

However, losses widened at the group in the year ended 31 December 2015 to £279,000, up from £40,000 a year ago. The loss is caused by the business having to attribute a notional cost of non-cash share option agreements to the business, resulting in a charge of £420,000.

CEO Frazer Thompson said: “Chapel Down has enjoyed another excellent year of growth. In a highly competitive trading environment your company has continued to invest in the value of its brands, its vineyards and winery and its people as we build a healthy, sustainable and innovative drinks company with an exciting future both at home in the UK and in sophisticated drinks markets abroad.”

Yesterday in the City

Tesco (TSCO) was one of the FTSE 100’s biggest risers, with shares up 1.7% to 185p, as rumours circulate that the Dobbies sale is moving apace.

SABMiller (SAB) slipped 0.1% to 4,254p after updating the City on its full-year volumes and net producer revenue. NPR was up 5% as volumes rose 2% but the group was hurt by the strength of the US dollar to the emerging market currencies it trades in with reported revenues falling 8%.

Pernod Ricard (RI) fell back 5% to €98.65 as growth in the thirs quarter went backwards (-3%) as a result of the earlier Chinese new year.

It was a day of general declines for the grocery and fmcg sector, with the FTSE 100 also down 0.4% to 6,381.44 points.

Associated British Foods (ABF), Greggs (GRG) and Unilever (ULVR) were among the fallers, down 3% to 3,230p, 2.7% to 1,045p and 2% to 3,265p respectively.

Imperial Brands (IMB), British American Tobacco (BAT), PZ Cussons (PZC), Coca-Cola HBC (CCH) and Britvic (BVIC) were also behind by between 1.7% and 2.5%.