Greencore CEO says firm can look to invest after return to profits

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Chief executive Patrick Coveney told Standard: “We have been able to rebuild our balance sheet … it gives us the security and strength to invest in the business going forward”.

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NS

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Ritten’s biggest sandwich maker has returned to profit and pre-Covid takeaway trading since the lockdown was lifted, with workers pulling out a bite to eat closer to home.

Listed Greencore M&S supplies supermarkets, including convenience stores and travel centers on the high streets.

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As of 24 September, revenue increased by almost 5% to £1.32 billion. The group reported £27.8 million in pre-tax profit, up from a loss of £10.8 million in the prior year.

The Dublin-headquartered firm raised £90 million in equity from shareholders last year to help it see through the pandemic, and reduce debt over the period. Today it reaffirmed full-year guidance in line with market expectations, despite facing rising supply chain and staffing costs.

Chief executive Patrick Coveney told The Standard: “The only caveat I would give against this is if you want to revisit the lockdown at a large scale…

“What has been very reassuring for us in the last 7-8 months, especially in the last 7-8 months, is how quickly food is back to go to market. Our revenue and volume in the food sector is back where it is. They were pre-Covid.”

Coveney said a significant shift toward suburban sales from the city center as a hybrid working set continues.

The CEO is set to leave Greencore after 14 years to lead catering giant SSP. Looking ahead, he added: “We have been able to rebuild our balance sheet and bring our leverage levels back to 2x. This gives us the strength to protect and invest in the business going forward.”

Analysts at house broker Shore Capital noted “pleasingly strong cash flows”, but cautioned that “Omicron reminds us of the fragility of rebuilding dynamics”.

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