Financial Express (Holdings) Limited (“we”, “our”, “us” and derivatives) are committed to protecting and respecting your privacy. This Privacy Policy, together with our Terms of Use, sets out the basis on which any personal data that we collect from you, or that you provide to us, will be processed by us relating to your use of any of the below websites (“sites”).


For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, the data controller is Trustnet Limited of 2nd Floor, Golden House, 30 Great Pulteney Street, London, W1F 9NN. Our nominated representative for the purpose of this Act is Kirsty Witter.


We collect information about you when you register with us or use any of our websites / services. Part of the registration process may include entering personal details & details of your investments.

We may collect information about your computer, including where available your operating system, browser version, domain name and IP address and details of the website that you came from, in order to improve this site.

You confirm that all information you supply is accurate.


In order to provide personalised services to and analyse site traffic, we may use a cookie file which is stored on your browser or the hard drive of your computer. Some of the cookies we use are essential for the sites to operate and may be used to deliver you different content, depending on the type of investor you are.

You can block cookies by activating the setting on your browser which allows you to refuse the setting of all or some cookies. However, if you use your browser settings to block all cookies (including essential cookies) you may not be able to access all or part of our sites. Unless you have adjusted your browser setting so that it will refuse cookies, our system will issue cookies as soon as you visit our sites.


We store and use information you provide as follows:

  • to present content effectively;
  • to provide you with information, products or services that you request from us or which may interest you, tailored to your specific interests, where you have consented to be contacted for such purposes;
  • to carry out our obligations arising from any contracts between you and us;
  • to enable you to participate in interactive features of our service, when you choose to do so;
  • to notify you about changes to our service;
  • to improve our content by tracking group information that describes the habits, usage, patterns and demographics of our customers.

We may also send you emails to provide information and keep you up to date with developments on our sites. It is our policy to have instructions on how to unsubscribe so that you will not receive any future e-mails. You can change your e-mail address at any time.

In order to provide support on the usage of our tools, our support team need access to all information provided in relation to the tool.

We will not disclose your name, email address or postal address or any data that could identify you to any third party without first receiving your permission.

However, you agree that we may disclose to any regulatory authority to which we are subject and to any investment exchange on which we may deal or to its related clearing house (or to investigators, inspectors or agents appointed by them), or to any person empowered to require such information by or under any legal enactment, any information they may request or require relating to you, or if relevant, any of your clients.

You agree that we may pass on information obtained under Money Laundering legislation as we consider necessary to comply with reporting requirements under such legislation.


We want to ensure that the personal information we hold about you is accurate and up to date. You may ask us to correct or remove information that is inaccurate.

You have the right under data protection legislation to access information held about you. If you wish to receive a copy of any personal information we hold, please write to us at 3rd Floor, Hollywood House, Church Street East, Woking, GU21 6HJ. Any access request may be subject to a fee of £10 to meet our costs in providing you with details of the information we hold about you.


The data that we collect from you may be transferred to, and stored at, a destination outside the European Economic Area (“EEA”). It may be processed by staff operating outside the EEA who work for us or for one of our suppliers. Such staff may be engaged in, amongst other things, the provision of support services. By submitting your personal data, you agree to this transfer, storing and processing. We will take all steps reasonably necessary, including the use of encryption, to ensure that your data is treated securely and in accordance with this privacy policy.

Unfortunately, the transmission of information via the internet is not completely secure. Although we will do our best to protect your personal data, we cannot guarantee the security of your data transmitted to our sites; any transmission is at your own risk. You will not hold us responsible for any breach of security unless we have been negligent or in wilful default.


Any changes we make to our privacy policy in the future will be posted on this page and, where appropriate, notified to you by e-mail.


Our sites contain links to other websites. If you follow a link to any of these websites, please note that these websites have their own privacy policies and that we do not accept any responsibility or liability for these policies. Please check these policies before you submit any personal data to these websites.


If you want more information or have any questions or comments relating to our privacy policy please email in the first instance.

 Information  X 
Enter a valid email address

Assoc British Foods (ABF)

  Print      Mail a friend       Annual reports

Thursday 16 January, 2014

Assoc British Foods

Q1 Interim Management Statement

RNS Number : 7318X
Associated British Foods PLC
16 January 2014

16 January 2014


Associated British Foods plc

Interim management statement


Associated British Foods plc today issues an interim management statement for the 16 weeks to 4 January 2014, in accordance with the requirements of the UK Listing Authority's Disclosure and Transparency rules.



·   Excellent Christmas trading at Primark

·   Encouraging performance from Grocery and Ingredients

·   Sugar performance weaker than expected

·   Adverse translation impact of recent sterling strength

·   No change in full year earnings' expectations


Trading performance

Group revenue for the first 16 weeks was in line with last year.  Revenue growth by business segment was:


16 weeks to 4 January 2014

Actual rates

Constant rates
















Total group




Compared with the first quarter last year, sterling weakened against the euro but has strengthened against most other major currencies, particularly in recent weeks.  As a result, group revenue for the quarter would have been 1% higher at constant currency.  If sterling remains at current rates the impact for the rest of the year will be more significant.



Revenues in the period were 27% below last year at constant currency, and 28% lower at actual rates as the strength of the euro was broadly offset by the weakness of the South African rand.  EU sugar prices, as previously indicated, were lower in the period which will lead to lower revenues and margins for both the UK and Spain in the full year.  The further recent fall in world sugar prices may put further pressure on revenues and margins, particularly in China.  Sales volumes for Illovo and China were lower than last year and reduced sugar production in Spain led to the elimination of non-quota exports this year.


The UK campaign is progressing to plan.  Beet quality and sugar content are encouraging and all factories are operating well.  Sugar production for the current year is now estimated to be 1.28 million tonnes compared with last year's 1.15 million tonnes.  Production consistency has improved at the Vivergo bioethanol plant in Hull and volumes have increased.  In Spain, the northern campaign was delayed to maximise beet development from the reduced area under cultivation in the 2013 crop year and has achieved an improved start-up performance compared with last year.


Illovo's revenues were weaker with lower domestic volumes and regional prices.  The Malawian kwacha has continued to decline against both the rand and sterling since last financial year end.


All five factories in south China made a good start to their campaign with sugar content and extraction both ahead of last year.  Production volumes in the north were held back by flooding in Heilongjiang and fewer factories in operation following the rationalisation last year.  With the benefit of recent cost reduction measures and improved factory performance in the north, we expect the China sugar business to deliver a substantial improvement in profitability this year.



Revenue was level with last year at both constant currency and actual rates.  Lower UK feed volumes were offset by growth in China, and a strong performance at AB Vista where Quantum Blue in South America and Econase in Asia were the main contributors.  Frontier traded at similar levels to last year with good sales of crop inputs and fertilisers.



Revenue at constant currency was 2% ahead of last year but at actual rates was 1% below, largely as a result of a weaker Australian dollar.  Twinings Ovaltine again performed well with strong growth for tea in the US and the UK.  Sales by the UK grocery businesses were in line with last year.  Volumes and margins at Allied Bakeries were ahead of last year but continued to face strong competition.  Sales at Silver Spoon declined as a result of lost contracts and reduced UK sugar pricing but the profit impact has been partially mitigated by overhead cost reduction.  Sales increased in local currency at George Weston Foods in Australia, profitability has improved and further progress was made in the Don KRC meat business with increased volumes and improved cost control.  Revenue at ACH was ahead of last year with higher corn oil volumes.



Revenue at constant currency was 3% ahead of last year at constant currency but 2% lower at actual rates.  In yeast and bakery ingredients, cost inflation in South America was successfully recovered with improvement in volumes and margins in Brazil.  Revenues in North America were ahead driven by increased volumes.  Profit in AB Mauri is improving.  At ABF Ingredients, the new extrusions factory at Evansville in the US has been successfully commissioned, products have been approved by key customers and the factory is fully operational.



Sales at Primark were 12% ahead at constant currency and, with the benefit of a stronger euro, were 14% ahead of the same period last year at actual rates.  This was driven by an 8% increase in selling space, strong like-for-like growth and higher sales densities from new stores.  Trading in the year to date has built upon the exceptional like-for-like growth delivered in the same period last year.  Although like-for-like sales in the first eight weeks were held back by the unseasonably warm weather and the strong comparatives in the previous year, the second half of the period was characterised by excellent Christmas trading with very strong like-for-like growth.


Operating profit margin was higher than in the same period last year, reflecting the Christmas trading, and was better than expected.


Retail selling space increased by 0.6 million sq ft since the financial year end.  At 4 January 2014, 268 stores were trading from 9.6 million sq ft of selling space.  We opened 14 new stores in the period including our first in France which began trading on 16 December from 63,000 sq ft in Marseille.  Early signs suggest that Primark has captured the imagination of French consumers, with one of our best store openings to date.  In Spain we opened five new stores and closed the smaller of our two stores in La Coruña, bringing the total there to 39.  Three further stores were added in the UK, including Crawley where we relocated to a larger site, and we also closed our small store in Leytonstone.  Two new stores were added in the Netherlands and one each in Germany, Austria and Portugal, all of which have begun trading exceptionally well.


We expect to add a further 0.5 million sq ft of selling space in this financial year, bringing the net additions for the year to 1.1 million sq ft which is substantially more than that achieved in 2013.  The additional stores will include a further four in France, three located in shopping centres in the suburbs of Paris and one in Dijon; two additional German stores, our second in Berlin and one in Cologne; three new UK stores including a relocation in Cardiff; and we will also relocate our Plenilunio store, our first in Spain, to a location twice its size.  This additional space will be opened more evenly through this financial year and the 8% increase in selling space achieved in the first quarter will increase as the year progresses.  Capital expenditure for the full year is planned to be ahead of last year.


Financial position

Operating cash flow in the period was better than last year driven by a strong working capital inflow, particularly at Primark, compared with last year's outflow.  Capital expenditure continued at a level similar to last year with lower expenditure in the food businesses offset by a higher investment at Primark.  Net debt at 4 January 2014 was £392m lower than last year end at £412m.


Trading outlook

Lower sugar prices, as the market rapidly adjusts ahead of EU regime reform in 2017, will result, as previously indicated, in a substantial reduction in profit from our sugar businesses this year.  With the further recent fall in world sugar prices this reduction will now be greater than previously expected.  Building upon the like-for-like growth already achieved, and with the further store expansion planned for the remainder of the year, Primark's profit will be well ahead of last year with a higher margin than expected.  Given the current strength of sterling, when these factors are combined with revenue growth and margin improvement in Grocery, and a lower interest charge, we continue to expect adjusted earnings per share for the current financial year to be similar to 2013.




For further enquiries please contact:

Associated British Foods

John Bason, Finance Director

Tel:  020 7399 6500

Citigate Dewe Rogerson

Chris Barrie, Eleni Menikou


Jonathan Clare

Tel:  020 7638 9571


Tel:  07770 321 881


This information is provided by RNS
The company news service from the London Stock Exchange