Why Associated British Foods Is Up 25% This Year

Published in Company Comment on 12 November 2012

Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) has issued a series of upbeat statements this year.

Associated British Foods (LSE: ABF) has advanced 25% to 1392p so far during 2012, making the share one of this year's best performers in the FTSE 100 (UKX).

The company, an international food, ingredients and retail group behind such diverse brands as Pataks, Twinings and Primark, seems to have impressed investors with a series of upbeat statements.

During April, an interim results announcement for 2012 stated that ABF's group revenue was up 11% to £5,766m, with an increase of 6% in adjusted operating profit, which stood at £412m. The dividend per share had increased 8%, to 8.5p, with earnings per share rising 5% to 34.4p.

During July, the company issued its third-quarter management statement, which revealed that group revenue was 11% ahead of the same period in 2011, with the AB Sugar operation turning in a 28% increase. The statement also said that Primark's sale growth had been 16%, driven partly by an increase in retail space.

Then, earlier this month, ABF published its annual results for 2012. The company reported that total group revenue for the year had grown 11% to £12.3bn, with adjusted pre-profit up 17% to £974m. Adjusted earnings per share had increased 18%, to 87.2p, and there had been a 15% rise in the dividend per share, which stood at 28.5p for the full year.

Chief executive George Weston commented:

"These are very good results for the group and include exceptional performances from AB Sugar and Primark. Global economic uncertainty remains but we have opportunities for further investment and the strength of the group balance sheet and a strong cash flow will enable us to pursue them with confidence."

Associated British Foods' next trading statement may reveal further positive news that can impress investors.

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> Jon does not own any share mentioned in this article.

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