AB Foods hits £10bn but warns over price rises

THE company behind clothes chain Primark and kitchen staples such as Kingsmill bread and Ovaltine yesterday reported that sales passed £10bn for the first time.

Revenues at Associated British Foods (ABF) rose 10 per cent to £10.2bn in the 53 weeks to 18 September, while profits jumped 26 per cent to £825m. That allowed ABF to up its dividend 13 per cent to 23.8p. But the group also warned that the price of cotton for clothes and wheat for bread is rising. Chief executive George Weston said: “In the UK we are negotiating higher prices now, although we have been paying higher wheat costs for a couple of months already.”

The company’s grain wholesale and animal feed business should benefit from the increase in prices. Sales at Primark were up 18 per cent to £2.7bn, while operating profits hit £341m.