March 1, 2017 / 10:54 AM / 5 months ago

UPDATE 1-UK's Premier drafts shareholder onto board to tackle problems

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By Rahul B

March 1 (Reuters) - Britain's Premier Foods Plc, under pressure from investors after rejecting a takeover bid last year, named a representative of Hong Kong-based Oasis Management to its board on Wednesday in an effort to revive its flagging business.

Oasis will raise its stake in Premier to 10 percent by June 2018, the maker of Mr Kipling cakes and Bisto gravy said as it announced the appointment of Daniel Wosner, Oasis's managing director and head of Europe, to its board with immediate effect.

Premier has failed to deliver the performance it promised when it rejected a 65 pence-per-share takeover approach from U.S. food maker McCormick last April, weakening its shares and angering some of its shareholders.

Since rejecting the bid, Premier Foods has warned on profit and said it was taking longer than expected to agree supply deals with food retailers. It has increased marketing and cost-savings in a turnaround effort.

Activist fund Paulson & Co, which was a top-10 Premier shareholder, went public to criticise its board for rejecting McCormick's offer, one of a number of its biggest investors who questioned the decision.

Premier's shares, which have lost more than a quarter of their value since October following weak sales and a profit warning, were up by more than 2 percent on hopes that Wosner's experience as an investment banker would help.

"Daniel's perspective and experience will be a valuable addition to the team," Premier Chairman David Beever said of Wosner, who worked at Barclays and Lehman Brothers before joining Oasis, which was founded in 2002 by Seth Fischer.

Oasis, raised its stake in Premier to 4.64 percent in October, from 3.05 percent reported in July..

Japanese noodle maker Nissin Foods is the company's largest shareholder with a stake of around 19.7 percent. Premier said in January it would roll out the first Nissin branded products in the next few weeks. (Editing by Martinne Geller and Alexander Smith)

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