The company behind Kingsmill and Twinings has seen profits slump 38 per cent since 2019 as it struggled to regain its pre-pandemic form.
Associated British Foods (ABF) made a pre-tax profit of £725 million in the 53 weeks to September, down £448 million from two years ago.
However, it marks a modest recovery of £39 million compared to 2020.
The multinational, which saw shares plunge in the weeks before the first lockdown, said grocery revenues were up three per cent on last year.
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However, grocer profit “declined marginally” thanks to weaker margins at cooking oil brand ACH.
Food businesses apparently saw adjusted operating profit increase by 10 per cent, driven by “high demand and improved productivity”.
Chairman Michael McLintock blamed the sub-par financials on Primark, the fashion retailer and ABF subsidiary.
“A third of its available trading days were lost as a result of store closures due to the public health measures taken in our major markets,” he said.
McLintock added that ABF, which operates in 53 countries, had been building up brands through “new product introductions” and “wider international distribution”.
This included growing Ovaltine in China, Brazil and Switzerland, and the “overseas development” of curry paste company Patak’s.
Chief executive George Weston said ABF had provided “food under the most extraordinary conditions again this year, proving the value and resilience of our supply chains”.