Greencore sees business pickup after lockdown slump

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Irish food producers Greencore has reported profits are beginning to increase in the fourth quarter following a 40% drop due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Known as the world’s largest maker of sandwiches, producing 350 million a year, the food-to-go business saw revenue fall from £1.45bn to £1.27bn after demand fell and an increase of people working from home.

The company’s report on the pro forma revenue growth saw the FTG category shrink by 53% in the third quarter of 2020 during the height of the national lockdown and social distancing restrictions.

In August, almost 300 staff at the Northampton factory tested positive for Covid-19, resulting in the site to temporarily close for a two-week self-isolation period where production was picked up from other Greencore sites.

Commenting on the performance, Patrick Coveney, chief executive officer at Greencore, said: “The fourth quarter of our financial year has seen an ongoing improvement in demand for our products. I am hugely proud of the way that our people are supporting each other and our customers during this extraordinarily challenging period, and it is their hard work and dedication that is driving a resilient and improving trading performance.

“Our agile business model, the depth of our customer relationships and the strength of our product range has enabled us to already capitalise on new business opportunities that will help underpin the build back in Group revenue.

“We are realistic but also confident in our plans for FY21, and remain excited by Greencore‘s longer term prospects.”

Shares in Greencore decreased by 9.7% to 92p according to market reports this morning, with stock worth 65% less than at the start of the year.

For the full year, the Greencore anticipates a reported revenue outturn of approximately £1,265m.

Revenue trends continued to recover through fourth quarter, with pro forma Group revenue for the quarter expected to be 19% below prior year levels; an improvement on the 36% reduction in the third quarter

Although UK consumer sentiment and broader economic activity remain fragile, the sandwich producing company has seen a progressive uplift in demand for food to go by working with customers to tailor product ranges, formats and service models.

While fully recognising the uncertainties that lie ahead, Greencore is hoping to continue building back on the business in for the 2021 financial year.

Publication of Greencore’s full year results for 2020 will be released on 24th November.