StockMarketWire.com - Associated British Foods said Monday it expected adjusted earnings for the half year to be in line on-year amid an ongoing decline in sugar revenues, while retail profit was estimated to be 'well ahead' of last year.

'For the half year, other than the expected reduction in sugar revenue, sales growth will be delivered by all of our businesses,' the company said.

'We expect adjusted earnings per share to be broadly in line with the same period last year, with lower net financial expenses offsetting a small reduction in adjusted operating profit.'

AB Sugar revenue from continuing operations was expected to be lower than last year in the first half, in line with previous guidance, led by a fall in sugar prices.

In retail, Primark sales were expected to be 4% ahead of last year in the first half, at both constant currency and actual exchange rates, driven by increased retail selling space partially offset by a 2% decline in like-for-like sales.

'With a much higher margin, profit is expected to be well ahead of the same period last year. Early trading of the new spring/summer range has been encouraging,' the company said.

Primark increased its share of the total clothing, footwear and accessories market in the UK, with sales 2% ahead of last year. Cumulative like-for-like sales had improved since the January trading update.

AB foods' grocery division was expected to deliver higher operating profit and revenue compared to last year. But adjusting operating profit would in line with last year, amid £12m one-time cost relating to the supply chain consolidation at Twinings Ovaltine, adjusted operating profit for the first half will be in line with last year.

'For the half year, other than the expected reduction in sugar revenue, sales growth 'will be delivered by all of our businesses,' AB Foods said.

'We expect adjusted earnings per share to be broadly in line with the same period last year, with lower net financial expenses offsetting a small reduction in adjusted operating profit.'

'For the full year, our outlook for the group is unchanged with adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share for the year expected to be in line with last year.'

At 4:04pm: [LON:ABF] Associated British Foods PLC share price was -40p at 2273p



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