Food sales support growth at ABF

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

ABF continues to see growth led by its grocery division
ABF continues to see growth led by its grocery division

Related tags financial results Ambient Abf

Continued growth of food sales at Associated British Foods (ABF) have produced a strong set of results for the manufacturer in its third quarter 2023 trading update.

For the 12 weeks to 27 May 2023, ABF reported an 18% increase in total food sales, led by strong constant currency sales growth in Grocery (GBP £1.05bn) and ingredients (GBP £547m) – up 13% and 10% respectively.

In Sugar, trading has continued to be strong across its key African markets. Subsidiary British Sugar previously announced it had to secure alternative sources of supply as a consequence of the production shortfall from the 2022/23 campaign.

Sugar sales strong

After delayed planting, the 2023 UK beet sugar crop is now progressing well, reflected in a 51% uptick in sales (GBP £665m).

Year-to-date, ABF’s grocery sales were up 11% to £3.1bn, sugar was up 35% to £1.85bn, agriculture was up 11% to £1.4bn and ingredients was up 20% to £1.63bn – total food revenues grow 18% to £8.06bn.

This past month saw British Sugar appoint former head of 2 Sisters’ meal solutions division Keith Packer as its new managing director,​ taking over from interim managing director Mark Bainbridge.

“The Group continues to trade well. Based on current trading conditions, we now expect the Group’s adjusted operating profit for the full year to be moderately ahead of last year,”​ said an ABF spokesman.

Expectations for the year

“Adjusted EPS will also benefit from a Group Effective Tax Rate that is now expected to be below that seen in the first half of the year. As at the close of trading 23rd June we have completed £319m of the £500m share buyback programme.”

Outside of food, ABF continued to see strong sales through its retail operation, high street clothes shop Primark, which took home 73% of the value of its total food sales (£1.98bn).

In other recent news, ABF agreed to purchase dairy tech firm National Milk Records​ in a deal worth £48m in a bid to boost its agriculture business.

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