The strong performance of Primark has helped Associated British Foods deliver a 25% increase in interim profit before tax.

The company said it made profits of £452m having grown sales 10% to £6.3bn during the half year to 2 March.

Primark was the star performing business, with sales rising 24% and operating profit climbing 55% to £238m.

The grocery business, which owns Kingsmill, Twinings Ovaltine and Patak’s, grew sales 1% to £1.83bn while operating profit rose 30% to £97m.

The sugar division also performed well. Sales rose 10% although operating profit slipped a fraction to £163m following weaker trading in China and the mothballing of two plants in the country.

Shares in ABF climbed 5% to £19.54 in early trading on Tuesday.