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Nov 3, 2009
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AB Foods full-year earnings rise

By
Reuters
Published
Nov 3, 2009

LONDON (Reuters) - Primark owner Associated British Foods (ABF.L) beat forecasts with a 5 percent rise in full-year earnings on Tuesday 3 November driven by growth at its fashion chain and sugar sales and sees good profit and sales growth this year.


The London-based group which markets Silver Spoon sugar, Twining tea and Ovaltine drinks, said the sale and speed of the economic recovery remain uncertain and added it is cautious about the outlook for the consumer over the next year.

AB Foods posted adjusted earnings of 57.7 pence a share for the year to September 12 compared to a consensus forecast of 56.1p collated by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S and a range between 54.0 and 57.3 after last year's figure of 54.9p.

"We expect good revenue and operating profit growth with the the benefit of returns from our recent long-term investments and restructuring together with improvement in our Chinese and U.S. businesses," the group said in its outlook from its results.

The group's adjusted annual pre-tax profits rose 4 percent to 655 million pound while it increased its full-year dividend by 4 percent to 21p a share.

The group said its 191 Primark discount fashion store had a remarkable year with like-for-like sales growth of 7 percent and the chain's potential in continental Europe was even more evident this year and it is committed to expansion in Spain and the Netherlands.

The company, 55 percent owned by the family of Chief Executive George Weston, upgraded its target in early September to expect "some progress" in earnings driven by Primark and sugar after its previous forecast for flat earnings.

(Reporting by David Jones, Editing by Mike Nesbit)

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