Sugar price slump has bitter taste for Peterborough employer

Bringing in the sugar beet harvest.
Bringing in the sugar beet harvest.
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Ingredients to clothing giant Associated British Foods, which employs about 700 staff in Peterborough, has seen sales grow by three per cent.

But the owner of Silver Spoon and Primark says its performance was pegged back by a drop in sugar sales.

This was caused by a fall in sugar prices following the abolition of European Union quotas on the growth of sugar beet.

The FTSE conglomerate says without the drag on sugar, its revenues for the 40 weeks to the end of June, would have been up by six per cent.

ABF has 350 staff at its British Sugar site, in Oundle Way, Woodston, which also includes AB Sugar, AB Mauri, ABF Ingredients and ABF.

It has 300 employees at its AB Agri offices in Innovation Way, Lynch Wood, and about 50 people at its IT centre in Park House, Lynch Wood.

It also has a number of staff in its Primark store, in the Queensgate shopping centre.

The company says increased profits from Primark have helped keep on track the firm’s expectations for its performance across the full year.

It says sales at Primark are six per cent ahead of the same time last year.

Sales growth at AB Agri was 12 per cent up on last year while AB Sugar’s revenue was down 17 per cent.

A spokesman said: “For the full year we expect good profit growth in grocery, agriculture and ingredients.

“Compared to our previous expectation, we now expect a reduced profit from AB Sugar as a consequence of lower EU sugar prices and an increased profit from Primark driven by higher margins.”