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British ingredients company boasts solid growth

05-Nov-2002

British food ingredients and food group Associated British Foods, the maker of Twinings tea and Ryvita crispbread, reported a nine per cent rise in annual profits on Tuesday and group sales up three per cent.

The group, one of Britain's biggest food firms, reported pre-tax profits of £430 million (€670.5 million) for the year to 14 September on group sales of £4,545 million (€7,087 million).

"These are strong results and we have again delivered double-digit operating profit growth across four of our five business categories," said chief executive Peter Jackson in a statement on Tuesday.

Earlier this year the company purchased Ovaltine drink from Novartis for £171 million and Mazola, a leader in food oils in North America, from Unilever for £235 million.

"Good market positions have been strengthened, strong management teams have been reinforced and a more international ABF is emerging with first rate new businesses being acquired in North America, Europe and Asia. We have an excellent platform for continued growth in the future," continued Jackson.

At the same time ABF , a strong performer in the FTSE 100, announced that chairman Harold Bailey will retire at the group's annual general meeting on 5 December, and current non-executive director Martin Adamson will become non-executive chairman.

Industry rumours suggest that ABF, also the owner of British Sugar, may be on the look out for acquisitions in the food area, and more particularly in food ingredients.

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