DRUGS giant AstraZeneca’s recently appointed chief executive Pascal Soriot will unveil his first set of figures when it updates the market on Thursday. Soriot joined the company at a difficult time for Astra, which has been suffering from sliding sales and profits as competition from cheaper generic drugs and challenging market conditions take their toll.
Soriot started at the beginning of October, replacing David Brennan, who quit after a shareholder rebellion over pay and performance earlier this year. While he is expected to take a back seat at the third quarter update, the former Roche pharmaceuticals boss has already started to make his mark at the group ahead of announcing his strategy plans in the new year.
He suspended its share buy-back programme and announced his first major deal, buying the rights to experimental kidney drugs for up to £169 million.
Mr Kipling parent Premier Foods will reveal how it fared in recent trading after a first half that was boosted by its “Great British Fancies” campaign for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.
The St Albans-based group saw a 2 per cent rise in interim sales of its eight frontline brands thanks in part to the launch of a patriotic range of Mr Kipling cakes and a major advertising push.
But the market will be keen for news on whether the summer of celebration surrounding the Olympics maintained strong sales in the group’s third quarter update on Tuesday.
Attention has recently focused on its restructuring efforts as it battles to reduce a debt pile that stood at £1.3 billion in June.
Leisure group Whitbread is likely to reveal a jump in half-year profits on Tuesday as its Costa and Premier Inn businesses continue to deliver market-beating performances.
Costa, which has nearly 1,400 outlets in the UK, and Premier Inn have consistently been the top performers in the group’s portfolio, which also includes restaurants Beefeater and Brewers Fayre.
Tuesday: Premier Foods, Whitbread Wednesday: Home Retail Group
Thursday: Asos, AstraZeneca, Debenhams, Stobart Group.
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Friday 24 May 2013
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