Associated British Foods has announced a fall in profit for the for the half-year period ending 4 March 2006 but is confident about the prospects of its British Sugar brand.

Despite group revenue climbing 10% to GBP2.887bn, basic earnings per share fell 16% to GBP0.21 and profit before tax went down 13%, to GBP234m. Analysts cited costs to expand the Primark discount-clothes chain acquired from Littlewoods in 1999.

Associated British Foods CEO George Weston said: "The resilience of the group's operations has produced good results despite tough trading conditions in some markets and sharply higher energy costs. Primark continues to perform strongly and will benefit from the heavy investment now being made in its expansion, while our hot beverages and international yeast businesses are also doing well.

"As expected, British Sugar has experienced price pressure but it is well positioned for the medium term and we remain confident about its prospects."