Food and ingredients manufacturer, Associated British Foods (ABF) has reported a rise in profits on the back of a restructuring programme at the British based group.

ABF said first-half pre-tax profits rose to £226m from £167m in the 24 weeks ending March 3 with sales at £2.063bn. The profit figures included the £40m profit from the disposal of Burton’s Biscuits last year to a private equity group. ABF announced last October that it would withdraw from sectors where it was not the market leader.

“Our restructuring is well under way and our costs remain under tight control,” said Peter Jackson, chief executive.

He warned that any further decline in the general economic climate could affect second half growth, while smaller crop yields hit the company’s overseas sugar and bread operations. ABF’s brands – Ryvita, Silver Spoon sugar and Twinings tea enjoyed a strong start to the year.