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Chairman’s Address to AGM


5 December 2014

At the Annual General Meeting today (5 December 2014) Mr Charles Sinclair, Chairman of Associated British Foods, in addressing shareholders made the following comments on current trading for the group since the close of the financial year ended 13 September 2014.

"Operating profit for the group in the first two months of the new financial year was broadly in line with expectations.

Sales at Primark were more than 10% ahead of last year driven by the selling space expansion both last year and so far this year.  Like-for-like sales are currently below expectation as a result of the unseasonably warm weather but, having budgeted this year for a higher level of mark-downs, at this early stage in the year Primark’s profit estimate for the full year is unchanged.

Primark’s expansion will continue and Grocery, Ingredients and Agriculture are expected to make further progress on the back of their very positive performance last year.  As I said in the conclusion to my statement in the annual report, with the continuing fall in EU sugar prices and volatility in the world sugar price, we expect a further large reduction in profit from AB Sugar, but this will put much of the effect of the structural changes in EU prices behind us.

We continue to expect a marginal decline in adjusted operating profit for the group but the impact on earnings should be mitigated by much lower tax and interest charges.  We therefore continue to see limited opportunity to grow adjusted earnings per share in this financial year.  With the strength of the group’s balance sheet and strong cash generation, we have every reason to be confident of further progress for the group thereafter."

For further information please contact:    
Associated British Foods:    
John Bason, Finance Director
Flic Howard-Allen, Head of External Affairs    
Tel: 020 7638 9571   

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:
Chris Barrie, Angharad Couch, Eleni Menikou
Tel: 020 7638 9571

Jonathan Clare
Tel: 07770 321881