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Premier Foods aiming to serve up tasty profits

Premier Foods will serve up its full-year results on Thursday as it grapples with a major restructure of its bread business.

In November the group said it would close two bakeries and cut 900 jobs as part of plans to overhaul the struggling division, and it is set to lose a £75 million-a-year contract with a major grocery chain from the middle of this year.

The 2012 results will come after the group slumped to a £259.1m pre-tax loss in 2011 following a price war that sliced its bread division's profits to just £3.4m.

But the City is predicting profits to rise to between £118m and £125m, compared with £117m last year.

Full-year figures on Thursday will show that a flurry of favourable football results helped Ladbrokes end 2012 on a strong note.

The City expects pre-tax profits for the full year at Ladbrokes to come in 10% higher than 2011 at £174m, despite reporting a 5% fall in customer numbers over the summer as bad weather and the Olympic Games dented trade.

BAE Systems will report how it fared in 2012 on Thursday after a dramatic year in which it failed in its attempt to merge with EADS.

The defence giant was forced to scrap a tie-up with its rival after political wrangling scuppered the two companies' plans to create the world's biggest defence and aerospace group, which would have had combined sales of around £60 billion.

JP Morgan analyst David Perry expects underlying earnings to fall from £2bn in 2011 to £1.8bn last year.

But Mr Perry said BAE had secured some "useful" export contracts at the end of last year.

The City will also be keen to hear more on BAE's plans for the future of its major shipyards after the group's UK chief executive Nigel Whitehead said he is considering closing one of its major sites. The future of its three major bases – one at Portsmouth and two in Glasgow, at Govan and Scotstoun – has been under threat after BAE launched a review of its maritime operations.

Mike Ashley's sportswear empire will continue to reap the benefit of the collapse of rival JJB when it updates the City on Thursday.

Trading at Sports Direct International is expected to be strong as sales are boosted by stock bought by the group when it snapped up 20 of JJB's shops from administrators. The City expects the group to be on-track for full-year pre-tax profits of £207m, up from £154m the previous year.

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