April 24, 2019, 2:45 a.m. EDT

Profit for Primark-owner AB Foods falls 15%

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By Adriano Marchese

Associated British Foods PLC (ABF.LN) on Wednesday said that pretax profit fell 15% in the first half of fiscal 2019 due to higher costs.

The Primark-owner said pretax profit was 515 million pounds ($667.8 million) in the six months ended March 2 compared with GBP603 million this time last year.

Adjusted earnings per share--the company's preferred metric which strips out exceptional and other one off-items--was 61.1 pence, which it said would be broadly in line with the 61.3 pence of the same period last year.

Revenue for the half-year was up 1.5% to GBP7.53 billion. This compares with an estimate of GBP7.58 billion, taken from FactSet and based on three analysts' forecasts.

The board has declared an interim dividend of 12.05 pence a share, up from 11.7 pence last year.

The company said its Primark sales rose 4.4% compared with a year earlier, and that it expects full-year outlook for Primark profit to remain unchanged.

AB Foods said its sugar segment was significantly reduced, but that it expects profitability to improve from this period.

It said its full-year outlook for the group is unchanged, and expects adjusted earnings per share to be in line with last year's 134.9 pence.

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