British Sugar profits drop
BRITISH Sugar profits fell by over 15% in the year to September 12, according to preliminary results published by parent company Associated British Foods this week.
Despite an excellent beet harvest and benefits of past capital investment, the company was unable to make up for a stronger green £ and full provision for the recently announced £28m European Commission fine (Business, Oct 16), said chairman Garry Weston. Profit fell £28m to £151m. However, BS is to appeal against the ruling, Mr Weston added.
The milling and baking division was adversely affected by the poor 1997 harvest and surplus capacity.
The animal feed division, which includes J Bibby, KW Agriculture and Trident Feeds, suffered from the continuing after effects of the BSE crisis and financial pressure on farmers. Overall, strong performance in non-agricultural sectors limited the damage, helping ABF produce a pre-tax profit of £391m, down £35m on the year.