Associated British Foods, the Kingsmill-to-Ryvita maker, this morning (21 April) booked a 7% fall in half-year profits on the back of costs linked to the sale and closure of two US units.

The UK-based firm posted operating profit of GBP260m (US$378.3m) for the six months to 28 February. Pre-tax profits were down 33% at GBP178m, while earnings per share tumbled 31% to 17.6p.

However, revenue rose 18% to GBP4.37bn and chief executive George Weston said ABF had filed a “reassuring set of results achieved in a difficult economic environment”.

“Strong profit growth was delivered by sugar and [discount clothing retail arm] Primark but grocery was adversely affected by high priced contracts in US corn oil,” Weston said.

Nevertheless, despite the fall in half-year profits, shares in ABF were up 7.49% at 703p at 09:35 BST this morning.