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Associated British Foods H1 Profit Down, Revenues Nearly Flat; Backs FY19 View

Associated British Foods Plc (ASBFY.PK,ABF.L) reported Wednesday that its first-half profit before tax declined 15% to 515 million pounds from last year's 603 million pounds. Earnings per share fell 19% to 49.2 pence from 60.9 pence a year ago.

The decline was mainly due to an exceptional charge of 79 million pounds.

Adjusted profit before tax was 627 million pounds, compared to 628 million pounds a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share were 61.1 pence, in line with last year.

Group revenue edged up 1 percent to 7.53 billion pounds from prior year's 7.42 billion pounds. Revenues grew 2 percent at constant currency rates.

In the first half, excellent profit growth was delivered by Primark and, on an underlying basis, by Grocery. This growth was mainly offset by the decline in AB Sugar.

Further, the board has declared an interim dividend of 12.05 pence per share, an increase of 3% on last year. The dividend will be paid on July 5 to shareholders registered at the close of business on June 7.

Looking ahead for the second half, the company said it expects the underlying growth in Grocery to continue.

Further, full-year outlook for the group is unchanged, with adjusted earnings per share expected to be in line with last year.

Full- year outlook for Primark profit is unchanged and will reflect the expected margin reduction in the second half due to the effect of a stronger US dollar on purchases.

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