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Assoc British Foods Lifts Fiscal Year Guidance On Strong 2nd Half

7 September 2009 1,709 views No Comment

LONDON -(Dow Jones)- U.K.-based food, ingredients and retail group Associated British Foods PLC (ABF.LN) Monday raised its full year guidance following strong trading in the second half, which helped lift adjusted operating profit in the period.

The U.K. food producer and retail group said it now expects progress in adjusted earnings, compared with guidance provided in July of flat adjusted profit, despite previously flagged higher interest charges.

AB Foods, which has food businesses around the world, did not provide specific sales guidance for each division, but said sugar profit would be substantially ahead of last year.

AB Food's shares have climbed over 11% since the turn of the year on hopes its sugar business will start producing large profits after four years of turmoil. They closed Friday at 812 pence.

AB Foods, which is 55% owned by the founding Weston family, produces sugar in Europe through its British Sugar unit and also has sugar operations in China and Africa through its Illovo venture. It also operates discount clothing chain Primark and produces food brands such as Twinings tea and Kingsmill bread.

The company said its grocery business delivered good revenue and operating profit in the second half while its ingredients business continued to benefit from the weakness of sterling against the U.S. dollar and euro.

At low-cost clothing retailer Primark the company said it expects like-for-like sales to be up 7% in the full year, driven by a strong performance in the U.K.

Shares closed Friday at 812p, up 2.1% from the previous close and 2.5% higher from levels seen 12 months earlier.

Company Web site: www.abf.co.uk

-By Michael Carolan, Dow Jones Newswires; 44-20-7842-9278; michael.carolan@dowjones.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 07, 2009 02:42 ET (06:42 GMT)

Copyright (c) 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.

By Michael Carolan and Kathy Sandler Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES

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