Grace's Guide

British Industrial History

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Associated British Foods

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Manufacturers and retailers of food, bread and provisions

1935 November: company founded by Willard Garfield Weston, initially as Food Investments Limited

1935 December: converted into a public company Allied Bakeries Limited; acquired 14 bakeries[1].

1939 Merger of Allied Bakeries and Weston Foods, both subsidiaries of George Weston Holdings[2].

1960 Name was changed to Associated British Foods.

1961 Acquired A. B. Hemmings Bakeries

1963 Acquired Fine Fare, a leading British supermarket chain.

1964 Acquired Twinings

1968 Associated British Foods bought Allied Farm Foods[3], the Buxted/Nitrovit Group[4]

1970 Sold Allied Farm Foods, as well as Walshs, Alfred E. Jones, Hollingsworth (Meat Products) and Warners of Melton Mowbray to Imperial Tobacco[5]

1973 Acquired Cranfield Brothers, millers

1979 Following the death of the founder, control of the company was passed to his son Garry, while the North American operations went 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.

1986 Sold Fine Fare

1987 Established Weston Research Laboratories

1991 Acquired British Sugar Corporation from Berisford International1990 Associated British Foods[6]

1995 Purchased Kraft’s food ingredients business. Later renamed ACH Food Companies, Inc.

1996 Manufacturing operations included Allied Bakeries, Burton's Biscuits and British Sugar; retail operations included Primark[7]

1997 ABF sold its retail operations in Northern Ireland and the Republic to Tesco.

2000 Opened the 100th Primark store. Sold its interests in Burton's Biscuits. Formed AB Enzymes.

2002 Acquired Mazola, Ovaltine and George Weston Foods, one of Australia and New Zealand's largest food manufacturers.

2004 Acquired the Tone's spice business and Fleischman yeast business from Burns Philp and Billington's Sugar

2007 Acquired Patak's Indian food business. British Sugar opened the first UK bioethanol plant.

2008 ACH entered into a joint venture with Archer Daniels Midland called Stratas Foods LLC.

2011 The company operates in five sectors: Sugar, Agriculture, Retail, Grocery, Ingredients.

2015 They have 124,000 employees worldwide with 61,000 of these in the retail arm of Primark. Gross number employed in the UK in all divisions is 42,416.[8] The company declare 42,416 employees in the UK but large part will be in retail for Primark chain - estimated at 37,000 for the 173 stores.

See Also


Sources of Information

  1. The Times Dec 17, 1935
  2. The Times, Mar 29, 1939
  3. The Times Oct. 9, 1968
  4. [1]
  5. The Times, Jan 24, 1970
  6. The Times Dec. 11, 1990
  7. The Times, April 23, 1996
  8. 2015 Annual Report