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Primark owner AB Foods cautious on outlook as profits rise

File photo: Handbags sit on display in a Primark store at the Westfield Stratford City Mall in London, U.K.
Simon Dawson | Bloomberg | Getty Images
File photo: Handbags sit on display in a Primark store at the Westfield Stratford City Mall in London, U.K.

Primark owner Associated British Foods posted a 6 percent rise in 2013-14 earnings, though it cautioned it saw limited opportunity for growth in the new year due to an expected large reduction in profit from its sugar business.

The group said on Tuesday it expected a marginal decline in adjusted operating profit in the 2014-15 year but said the impact on earnings will be mitigated by much lower tax and interest charges.

It said that given the strength of the group's balance sheet and strong cash generation it was confident of further earnings progress thereafter.

AB Foods said adjusted earnings per share were 104.1 pence in the year to Sept. 13, up from 98.9 pence in the same period last year, with strong performances from the group's Primark discount fashion chain and grocery division offsetting the adverse impact of lower sugar prices.

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The group had said in September full year earnings would be ahead of the previous year.

Group revenue fell 3 percent to 12.9 billion pounds ($20.64 billion) while adjusted operating profit fell 1 percent to 1.16 billion pounds. The dividend rose 6 percent to 34 pence.

The group said that in the new year it expected Primark's expansion to continue, with its grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses all making further progress.

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