2021 Annual Results Announcement

George Weston, Chief Executive of Associated British Foods

Our financial performance this year more than ever demonstrates the resilience of the group. This comes from the strength of our brands, the diversity of our products and markets, our geographic spread, conservative financing and an organisation design that permits fast and flexible decision-taking.

We provided safe, nutritious food under the most extraordinary conditions again this year, proving the value and resilience of our supply chains. Our food businesses delivered an adjusted operating profit increase of 10%, driven by high demand and improved productivity.

Primark delivered a good performance in the face of continued disruption to trading caused by the pandemic. It also unveiled its wide-reaching sustainability strategy with the aim of making more sustainable fashion affordable for all. Although the possibility of further trading restrictions cannot be ruled out, we expect Primark to deliver a much improved margin and profit next year. We are now intent on expanding our new store pipeline and investing in technology and digital capabilities to continue improving the performance of the business.

Given the strength of our balance sheet and our confidence in the future we are setting out today a new capital cash allocation policy that provides the Group with the capital it needs both for investment and financial stability while allowing for enhanced returns to shareholders when appropriate. We are announcing a special dividend for shareholders today as a result.

We have the people and the cash resources to seize the opportunities ahead and we look to the future with confidence.

Strong delivery in food; retail trading and margin recovering

Financial Headlines



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Statutory operating profit of £808m for the year was broadly in line with the statutory operating profit of £810m last year and is stated after charging net exceptional items of £151m this year compared to £156m in the last financial year.

Strong delivery in food

  • Combined revenue up 5%1 and adjusted operating profit up 10% to £760m1
  • Sugar: very strong performance, adjusted operating profit up 75%1
  • Grocery: brand investment and strong international growth
  • Progress in Agriculture and Ingredients

Retail trading and margin recovering

  • Primark adjusted operating profit up 15% to £415m2
  • Like-for-like3 sales down 12% on pre-pandemic levels
  • Strong profit margin recovery, with second half margin of 10.6%4
  • Wide-reaching new sustainability strategy launched
  • Plans to accelerate selling space expansion in major growth markets


  • Total dividend of 34.3p per share declared and proposed: special dividend 13.8p and final dividend 20.5p
  • Total dividends for the year 40.5p per share

1 At constant currency
2 Excluding the repayment of job retention scheme monies
3 Like-for-like sales metric expressed over two years enables measurement of the performance of our retail stores compared to our experience in 2019, which was before any of the economic effects of COVID-19
4 Excluding 53rd week and the repayment of job retention scheme monies

The Group has defined, and outlined the purpose of, its Alternative performance measures in note 13. These measures are used within the Financial Headlines and in this Annual Results Announcement. The 53rd week applies to Primark and George Weston Foods.

For further information please contact:

Associated British Foods:

John Bason, Finance Director

Tel: 020 7399 6545

Citigate Dewe Rogerson:

Tel: 020 7638 9571

Chris Barrie

Tel: 07968 727289

Jos Bieneman

Tel: 07834 336650

There will be an analyst and investor presentation at 09.00am GMT today which will be streamed online and accessed via the ABF website here.

Notes to Editors

Associated British Foods is a diversified international food, ingredients and retail group with sales of £13.9bn and 128,000 employees in 53 countries. It has significant businesses in Europe, Africa, the Americas, Asia and Australia.

Our aim is to achieve strong, sustainable leadership positions in markets that offer potential for long-term profitable growth. We look to achieve this through a combination of growth of existing businesses, acquisition of complementary new businesses and achievement of high levels of operating efficiency.

ABF Annual Results Announcement