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Premier Foods to keep Hovis, eyes overseas partners

Britain's Premier Foods is focused on expanding Hovis bread, one of its biggest brands, and has no plan to sell the business for now, the company's chief executive said on Tuesday.The maker of Mr. Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy has spent years dealing with management changes, refinancing and asset disposals to help cut debt built up before the financial crisis, but its prospects have begun to improve and is now also looking for overseas growth.Shares in Premier Foods have almost doubled in six months to 152 pence due partly to an improved trading performance led by a greater focus on best selling brands such as Ambrosia and Bisto.Media reports have suggested the share price rise could also have been helped by speculation that Mexican bakery firm Grupo Bimbo is eyeing Hovis.Premier's CEO distanced himself from a sale of the brand so soon after a shake-up of the bread business."We've done the hard yards on Hovis, we've taken the pain of the restructuring, taking 1,000 jobs out of the busi...

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