AB Foods reports higher profit and revenue, boosts dividend

AB Foods, the owner of Primark and a range of food brands, has posted a 25% increase in pretax profit for the year ended September 16, as revenue rose across all segments. The company also announced a higher final dividend and a special dividend, rewarding its shareholders.

The company’s pretax profit reached £1.34 billion, up from £1.08 billion the year before, on revenue of £19.75 billion, up 16% from £17 billion. The company attributed the revenue growth to higher prices and strong demand for its products.

Primark, the fast fashion retailer, saw its revenue increase by 17% to £9.01 billion, despite unseasonal weather and cost inflation. The company said it passed on only part of its input cost increases to its customers, maintaining its competitive edge. However, its adjusted operating profit fell by 2.8% to £735 million.

The company’s Grocery, Agriculture, Ingredients, and Sugar segments also reported higher revenue and profit, benefiting from the appeal of their products and brands. The company said it recovered high levels of input cost inflation without disrupting its customer relationships.

The company declared a final dividend of 33.1p per share, up from 29.9p the year before, as well as a 12.7p special dividend. The total payout for the year was 60p per share, up 37% from 43.7p.

The company’s chief executive George Weston said: “Trading at Primark was excellent under the circumstances. Profitability in our food businesses moved ahead as a result of the appeal of our products and the strength of our brands.”

The company expects “a year of meaningful progress” in the next year, with strong cash generation, modest like-for-like sales growth, and stability in the Grocery division. However, it warned that consumers are still facing a challenging environment.

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