ANALYST VIEWS: CAN AB FOODS RETURN TO GROWTH AS COSTS RISE?

JEREMY BATSTONE-CARR | CHARLES STANLEY
We have long held AB Foods management in high regard and admire the candour with which the company faces up to its operational challenges. However, we will be lowering our earnings estimates in the light of these results and believe that the shares’ rating leaves little to go for.

ANDREW WOOD | SANFORD BERNSTEIN
We expect significant downwards revisions to consensus expectations and, despite a very weak start to 2011 we see more downside from here. We had expected Primark to come under pressure but growth elsewhere.

We remain cautious on the stock and retain our ‘market perform’ rating.

KEITH BOWMAN | HARGREAVES LANSDOWN
Absorbing rising costs into the profit margin, combined with cost difficulties for the group’s sugar business, have provided the damage. On the plus side, the business remains diverse in nature, In all, market consensus opinion currently denotes a ‘hold’.