Associated British Foods - Strong operating control drives full-year profit upgrades

Davy Research
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ABF’s pre-close statement points to a better-than-expected performance through Q4, driven by higher profits at Primark and non-retail businesses. Primark’s Q4 like-for-like (LFL) revenues were lower than expected (-17% versus our -12% assumption), although the monthly cadence and exit rate provide comfort on FY 2022 revenue assumptions. Strong cost control will prompt Primark margins to exceed 10% in H2, with the outlook for supply chain and inflation headwinds “broadly mitigated” by the weaker dollar. The statement evidences strong operating control, although FY 2022 margin commentary may require further distillation.