Associated British Foods Sees FY Adj. EPS Ahead Of Previous Guidance

Associated British Foods plc. (ASBFY.PK,ABF.L) said it expects adjusted earnings per share for the full year to be ahead of previous guidance and marginally ahead of last year excluding the cost of repayment of job retention scheme monies.

The company noted that its outlook for the group's adjusted operating profit, stated before repayment of job retention monies, is now expected to be above last year excluding the benefit of the 53rd week this year.

The company's expectation is that the year end net cash before lease liabilities will now be some 1.9 billion pounds, compared to 1.6 billion pounds at the end of the last financial year, despite the impact of the pandemic on Group trading.

The company noted that it expects adjusted operating profit for the fourth quarter for both the food businesses and Primark to exceed its expectations.

Primark's operating profit margin in the fourth-quarter was strong despite lower than expected sales and Sugar will deliver a much-improved profit year-on-year, led by a very strong performance in Illovo.

For the full year, the company now expect AB Sugar to deliver an even greater improvement in adjusted operating profit over last year than previously expected and Primark's adjusted operating profit, stated before repayment of job retention scheme monies, to be ahead of last year.

AB Sugar had a strong fourth quarter and revenue for the full year is expected to be 7% ahead of last year. This growth was driven by particularly strong domestic and regional volumes for Illovo as well as by higher prices in Europe and Africa.

Grocery revenues are expected to be ahead of last year with adjusted operating profit lower than in the last financial year primarily driven by weaker corn oil margins at ACH.

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