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Associated British Foods plc ( ) is a British multinational food, ingredients and retail group with sales of £8.235 billion and over 96,000 employees in 44 countries. It is headquartered in London, England. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 Index. ABF's retail subsidiary Primark, a discount clothing chain, accounts for more than one fifth of turnover.


The company was founded by Canadian Willard 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 Britishmarker 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. While Garry maintained the company's prominence in the European foods market, ABF's growth has been eclipsed by the phenomenal performance of George Weston Ltd. in North America.

The company sold Fine Fare in 1986 and in 1991 went on to acquire British Sugar. In 1997 ABF sold its retail operations in Northern Ireland and the Republic to Tescomarker. These businesses were: Quinnsworth and Crazy Prices in the Republic of Ireland and Stewarts Supermarkets Ltd and Crazy Prices in Northern Ireland, 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 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.




Controlling shareholder

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 largest grant-making charitable trusts, and the remainder is owned by members of the Weston family. Wittington Investments also owns Fortnum & Masonmarker 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.

See also


  1. Bakers Federation
  2. Obituary: Sir Alistair Grant
  3. Obituary: Garry Weston
  4. Stock Market Week: ABF's £1.5bn cash mountain provides
  5. Wagon Wheels roll west as ABF sells Burton's
  6. Burns Philp & Co Ltd
  7. "AB Foods buys curry firm Patak's" BBC News Online Tuesday, 29 May 2007
  8. Annual Report 2006/7

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