ABF reports profits hike but is ‘shocked and saddened’ by Bangladesh tragedy

primark300The groceries to garments group Associated British Foods (ABF) said today that it was “shocked and deeply saddened” by the collapse of the Rana Plaza building which killed more than 1100 people in Bangladesh last April.

A supplier to its Primark retail fashion subsidiary occupied the second floor of this eight storey building which was also the location of a number of other garment manufacturers.

Reporting annual revenue up 9% to £13.3bn, pre-tax profits up 13% to £1,096m and a 12% hike in shareholders’ dividends, chief executive George Weston said the company’s response to the tragedy had “focused on meeting the immediate needs of the victims and, in parallel, organising long-term compensation”.

He went on: “We donated food to some 1,300 families shortly after the tragedy, and have since paid short-term financial support of six months’ salary to more than 3,600 workers in the building, irrespective of their employer.” Primark had committed to provide long-term financial compensation to victims who worked for its supplier, and their dependants, he added.

Across the group, Weston said ABF had “again delivered a great set of results. Grocery was much improved, Agriculture achieved record profits, Sugar was in line with our expectations and it was a remarkable year for Primark”.

Copyright Ken Hurst 2013

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About Ken Hurst

Ken Hurst began his career as a journalist in London over 30 years ago, working on a range of publications before moving on to weekly newspaper production in the newly-independent Zambia of the 1970s. He returned to the UK where his work included spells on newspapers and magazines, before moving to head up Norwich Union’s corporate affairs division. In the 1990s he moved on to freelance, co-own and publish the B2B audio magazine Sound and front the BBC radio Yesterday’s Papers programme. There followed six years as Business Editor at Britain’s biggest selling regional daily newspaper, The Eastern Daily Press, where he led an award-winning team and for whom he still writes a weekly socio/political comment column. Subsequently, he was Group Editorial Director at CBM, responsible for its UK and US magazine output – including The Manufacturer magazine – research-driven industry reports and live events content. Currently he is Contributing Editor at Works Management magazine publisher Findlay Media and Chairman of the consumer publishing house TNT Multimedia Ltd. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of the British Association of Communicators in Business.
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