Associated British Foods
|Public limited company|
|Traded as||LSE: ABF
FTSE 100 Component
|Charles Sinclair (Chairman)
George G. Weston (CEO)
|Revenue||£15,357 million (2017)|
|£1,336 million (2017)|
|£1,211 million (2017)|
|Owner||Wittington Investments, 54.5%|
Number of employees
Associated British Foods plc (ABF) is a British multinational food processing and retailing company whose headquarters are in London. Its ingredients division is the world's second-largest producer of both sugar and baker's yeast and a major producer of other ingredients including emulsifiers, enzymes and lactose. Its grocery division is a major manufacturer of both branded and private label grocery products and includes the brands Mazola, Ovaltine, Ryvita, Jordans and Twinings. Its retail division, Primark, has around 345 stores with over 13,900,000 sq ft (1,290,000 m2) of selling space across Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the UK, and the United States.
The company was founded by Canadian W. Garfield Weston in 1935, initially as Food Investments Limited, with the name changing to Allied Bakeries Limited a month later. In 1960 the name was changed again to Associated British Foods. In 1963 the Company acquired Fine Fare, a leading British supermarket chain. Following the death of the founder in 1978, control of the company was passed on to his son Garry, while the North American operations fell to his son Galen.
The company sold Fine Fare in 1986 and in 1991 went on to acquire British Sugar. In 1997 ABF sold its retail operations in Ireland (including Northern Ireland) to Tesco. These businesses were: Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices in the Republic of Ireland and Stewarts Supermarket Limited and Crazy Prices in Northern Ireland. This sale also included the Stewarts Winebarrel off-licence chain, Lifestyle Sports & Leisure Ltd (a retail sports and leisure business), Kingsway Fresh Foods (a meat processing facility) and Daily Wrap Produce (a fruit and vegetable packaging plant).
In 2000, the company sold its interests in Burton's Biscuits. In 2002, it acquired the Mazola corn oil, Argo & Kingsfords corn starch, Karo and Golden Griddle syrups, and Henri’s dressing brands, along with several Canadian brands, from Unilever; in 2004 it acquired the Tone's spice business and Fleischman yeast business from Burns Philp; and in 2007 it purchased Patak's Indian food business.
On 26 March 2011 Associated British Foods, and its parent company Wittington Investments, were targeted over tax avoidance by UK Uncut during anti-cuts protests. The tax avoidance scheme involved moving capital between ABF/Primark and the affiliated Luxembourg entity ABF European Holdings & Co SNC by means of interest-free loans, avoiding tax of about £9.7 million per year. The protest took the form of a mass sit-in in Fortnum & Mason.
In February 2013, the firm was forced to deny “illegal and immoral” tax evasion after it was accused by an international charity of moving its profits outside Zambia to reduce its tax bill. ActionAid said Zambia Sugar, a unit of AB Foods, had made profits of $123 million since 2007 but had paid "virtually no corporate tax" in Zambia.
In October 2013, the company denied being involved in unscrupulous uses of land, in an article containing reports of forced evictions by other companies.
- Argo cornstarch
- Aladino Peanut Butter
- Dorset Cereals
- Dromedary cake mixes
- Fleischmann's Yeast
- Jordans cereals
- Karo corn syrup
- Kingsmill bread
- Mazola corn oil
- Ovaltine (except in the United States, where Nestlé owns the brand)
- Silver Spoon
- Tone's Spices
- AB Sugar
- AB Agri Ltd
- AB Enzymes
- AB Mauri, bakery ingredients
- Abitec Corporation
- Abitec Ltd
- ACH Food Companies (AC HUMKO from 1995 to 2000), an American subsidiary of Associated British Foods, previously part of Kraft Foods from 1952 to 1995.
- ACH Food México
- Allied Mills
- British Sugar
- Frontier (50% joint venture with Cargill)
- George Weston Foods
- G Costa: sauces and ethnic (non-UK) brands
- Illovo Sugar
- Primark – known as Penneys in the Republic of Ireland
- Westmill Foods
- PGP International, Inc.
- SPI Pharma, Inc.
Board of directors
- Charles Sinclair, Chairman.
- George G. Weston, Chief Executive Officer.
- John Bason, Finance Director.
- Peter Smith, Independent non-executive director.
- Michael Jay, Baron Jay of Ewelme, Independent non-executive director.
- Timothy Clarke, Independent non-executive director.
- Javier Ferrán, Independent non-executive director.
- Emma Adamo, Independent non-executive director.
Some 54.5% of ABF is owned by Wittington Investments. 79.2% of the share capital of Wittington Investments is owned by the Garfield Weston Foundation, which is one of the UK's largest grant-making charitable trusts, and the remainder is owned by members of the Weston family. Wittington Investments also owns Fortnum & Mason and Heal & Son. George G. Weston became chief executive of ABF on 1 April 2005, and Galen Weston, the chief executive of George Weston Ltd., is a non-executive director. Garth Weston is Regional President of AB Mauri.
- "Annual Report and Accounts 2017" (PDF). Retrieved 25 February 2018.
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- "Regulation (EEC) No 4064/89 Merger Procedure" (PDF). EU. 5 May 1997. p. 2. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
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- "Burns Philp & Co Ltd". Secinfo.com. Retrieved 15 May 2010.
- "AB Foods buys curry firm Patak's" BBC News Online Tuesday, 29 May 2007
- UK Uncut Occupy Tax Dodgers Fortnum and Mason Archived 29 March 2011 at the Wayback Machine.. 26 March 2011.
- "ABF European Holdings & Co SNC accounts 2008" (PDF). Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- "Tax Research UK article". Taxresearch.org.uk. 28 March 2011. Retrieved 16 February 2013.
- Video: Occupation of Fortnum & Mason by UKuncut was peaceful, by Sunny Hundal. 27 March 2011.
- AB Foods denies avoiding tax in Zambia Holiday, International: Reuters, 10 February 2013
- Merrill, Jamie (2 October 2013), written at London, Oxfam accuses Coke and Pepsi of taking land from the poor, United Kingdom: The Independent
- "Associated British Foods plc has acquired the Leicester-based sports nutrition company H5 Ltd, trading as High5". www.bcms.com/gb/en-gb. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
- "ACH Food Companies - Mexico". achfood.com. Archived from the original on 17 March 2015. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- "Associated British Foods plc - About us - Board and committees - Board of directors". abf.co.uk. Retrieved 15 March 2015.
- Associated British Foods. "Annual Report 2011" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 6 April 2012. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "Trustees | The Duke of Edinburgh's International Award". www.intaward.org. Retrieved 2018-02-19.