Associated British Foods - Pre Close Trading Update

Thursday, February 25, 2021
AB Sugar revenue is expected to be marginally ahead of last year in the first half primarily due to higher average sugar prices for British Sugar and higher prices in Illovo. Operating profits are expected to be significantly ahead for the half year driven by a strong recovery in Illovo and further improvement in British Sugar. Along with the benefit of these higher prices, Illovo has also benefited from increased domestic and regional sales and all businesses continued to deliver savings from the performance improvement programme. We expect that UK sugar production for the 2020/21 campaign will be 0.9m tonnes, well down on last year's 1.19m tonnes, due to wet weather conditions at the time of planting and the severe impact of virus yellows, which is transmitted by aphids, on the sugar beet. On 8 January the UK Government granted a conditional permit for the emergency use of neonicotinoids as a seed treatment for the 2021/22 beet growing season. An independent scientific assessment is likely to predict low aphid population levels as a result of prolonged cold temperatures this February and as a consequence it is unlikely that neonicotinoids will be deemed necessary. We continue to work to secure a pesticide-free long-term solution in partnership with sugar beet growers and seed producers.
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