In advance of Premier Foods’ half-year (H1) results, to be announced 5 August, international specialist banking group Investec has said it is expecting “a decent H1” and has made a “modest upgrade to FY forecasts”.

It estimates a sales figure of £1.2bn, £134m of trading profit and £59m of PBT (profit before tax). “With the balance sheet resolved, we expect the focus to be on trading, particularly in bread,” said Investec.

It is expecting better news from Premier’s Hovis Division, but is staying cautious with its forecasts, pending more clarity on the bottom line. It forecasts the division will see sales of £369m and trading profit of £16m.

The banking group said it was clear that the relaunch of Hovis in September 2008 had been a success in terms of sales and marketing, but said it was “very much in the dark as to whether top-line fizz is translating into bottom-line satisfaction.” However, it added that “any external perspective would suggest that this should be the case”.

“This will be the first set of numbers from Premier where the balance sheet won’t be the prime concern,” added Investec.