Primark-owner AB Foods first-half profit held back by sugarGÇï

LONDON, Feb 26 (Reuters) - Primark owner Associated British Foods on Monday forecast first-half profit in line with the same period last year, held back by a previously flagged reduction in sugar revenues.

The group, which also owns major grocery, agriculture and ingredients businesses, said lower finance expenses and a lower effective tax rate would lead to progress in adjusted earnings per share (EPS) for the first half to March 3.

For the full 2017-18 year, AB Food's outlook was unchanged with "progress" expected in both adjusted operating profit and adjusted EPS.

The group said Primark's first-half total sales were expected to be up 7 percent at constant currency rates, with like-for-like sales down 1 percent but up 1 percent in the second quarter. (Reporting by James Davey; editing by Kate Holton)