June 21, 2018 / 3:43 PM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-Premier Foods' second largest shareholder to vote against CEO's re-election

June 21 (Reuters) - Britain’s Premier Foods said its second largest shareholder would vote against Gavin Darby’s re-election at its AGM on July 18.

The company, in a statement on Thursday, urged shareholders to vote in favour of Darby saying that he was “the best person to lead the Company and to execute the Board’s strategy”.

Under Darby, who assumed office in 2013, the company’s stock has slid more than a third. Shares were little changed on the news and currently trade at 39.47 pence.

The Oxo stock cube-maker is also struggling under a heavy debt burden. Its net debt currently stands at 496.4 million pounds.

Oasis, which holds an 8.8 percent stake, had terminated its relationship deed with Premier Foods in March and its board nominee Daniel Wosner resigned as a non-executive director.

Oasis could not immediately be reached for comment.

Premier Foods has been under shareholder pressure ever since it rejected a takeover bid from U.S. food-maker McCormick in 2016, pushing its biggest shareholders Paulson & Co to criticise the board for rejecting the offer.

The company in May said that although it faced a tough retail environment, full-year sales grew 3.6 percent mainly due to overseas partnerships.

It dismissed reports of talks to sell the Batchelors brand to Nissin, while adding the company was not looking for any partnerships this year. (Reporting by Sangameswaran S in Bengaluru Editing by Alexandra Hudson)

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