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LONDON, Feb 24 (Reuters) - Associated British Foods maintained full year earnings expectations as a strong first half performance from its Primark discount fashion chain offset more weakness in its sugar business.
The firm said on Monday it continued to expect adjusted earnings per share for the 2013-14 year to be similar to the 98.9 pence made in 2012-13.
AB Foods said underlying operating profit for its first half to March 1 was expected to be in line with last year, but cautioned that sterling was continuing to strengthen against its major trading currencies and this would have a more significant negative effect on the translation of overseas results into sterling in the second half.
The firm said Primark's first half sales were expected to be 13 percent ahead of last year. However, revenue and profit from sugar in the first half will be substantially lower.
AB Foods has previously guided that lower sugar prices, as the market adjusts ahead of EU regime reform in 2017, will result in a substantial reduction in profit from its sugar businesses this year.
The group has also previously stated that it expects Primark's profit will be well ahead of the previous year.