Shoppers carrying Primark bags
Shoppers carrying Primark bags REUTERS

Shares in Associated British Foods were down on the FTSE 100 in morning trading despite the company saying it expected its earnings for the full year ended 18 September to "show very good progress".

The group, which owns Primark stores and brands such as Ovaltine and Silver Spoon, said that trading in the second half of the year had been strong and had led to a "substantial increase" in adjusted operating profit from the previous year.

Net debt at the end of the year is expected to be around £800 million, the group said.

ABF's Sugar division is expected to see a significant rise in profits thanks to greater demand in Europe and China, while in its Agriculture division revenue is expected to be flat from last year, thanks to "tough market conditions in China".

The Grocery division is expected to see operating profits "well ahead of last year" and the Ingredients division is also expected to post a "good result".

The group's Primark retail business is expected to see sales and profits ahead of last year, with full year like for like sales growth of six per cent being predicted.

By 09:40 shares in Associated British Foods were down 3.40 per cent to 1,051.00 pence per share.