SECOND TAKE: FT’S LEX
THE LEX COLUMN: A business safe from activists
Associated British Foods’ family owners provide a stability that investors should welcome
The Weston family who founded and run UK-listed Associated British Foods knows how to ride a trend. A cheap-and-cheerful approach to clothing is driving sales at its Primark unit. The fast-fashion retailer dominates investor attention; this despite the unwavering devotion of CEO George Weston to the humble sugar beet.
Primark also dominates the results of ABF, which reported full-year results on Tuesday. Primark’s adjusted operating profits are nearing £1bn (R19bn), up 8% at £913m (about R17.5bn). That is about two-thirds of the total. Lex calculates that at current growth rates the division could account for three-quarters of operating profits in five years.