Associated British Foods, manufacturer of brands such as Silver Spoon sugar and Twinings tea and operator of the Primark discount clothes store chain, has reported a 6% increase in profit before tax to £192m (US$275.8m), before exceptional items, for the 24 weeks ended 2 March 2002. Other half year highlights announced earlier today [Wednesday] included a 13% increase in operating profit to £179m and adjusted earnings per share up 10% to 17p.