S Daniels, the group best known for its New Covent Garden Soup subsidiary, is looking for a new md for its key chilled food division after the departure of John Sexton. Sexton was understood to have been preparing a £25m bid for the firm before it struck a deal with Asian firm Singapore Food Industries to secure cash for further growth. Under the deal, SFI will take a 26.5% stake in the company, raising £10.5m to fund new production facilities for juice and soup and tackle mounting debt. News of the deal came as Daniels revealed pre-tax profit for the six months to June 30 slumped 67% to £502,000 largely due to rising raw materials costs. Sales remained flat at £26.9m dampened by reduced tourist spending due to foot and mouth and the loss of a major customer in prepared salads. However, chairman Cyril Freedman was upbeat about prospects. {{NEWS }}