In its third-quarter management statement, ABF revealed that though group revenue from continuing operations for the 40 weeks to 21 June 2014 was down 2% for the same period as last year, it was 2% ahead at current currency.
Though Kingsmill enjoyed an increased market share over the period, trading conditions were labelled ‘challenging’ and were expected to continue in that vein.
Grocery revenues were 5% lower than last year at constant exchange rates with the majority of the decline positioned at Silver Spoon. This was attributed to a number of lost contracts and ‘considerably’ lower UK sugar pricing.
Low sugar prices
Sugar revenues in the last 16 weeks were 20% lower than last year at constant currency, driven by ‘substantially’ lower sugar prices, weaker EU sales volumes and lower sugar production in North China.
“In response to the substantial profit decline in our sugar businesses, and in addition to the continuous improvement programme that is delivering cost reductions across the AB Sugar group, we are planning to undertake a further overhead reduction exercise,” a statement said.