Bidcorp feeling the pressure of Covid-19 outbreak
DURBAN - BID CORPORATION (Bidcorp) said yesterday that its business was feeling the pressure of the second wave due to the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly in the UK and Europe, despite a good start in the first quarter to end September.
The international food service group said July showed a strong financial performance in Europe and the UK.
“Unfortunately, this started deteriorating in August and has worsened with Europe and the UK now firmly in the grip of a harsh second wave that is showing little sign of easing. This is having a significant impact on us once again. Fortunately, we are a diversified business, with Australia, New Zealand and Asia doing well, and our other emerging market constituents continuing to improve on a month-to-month basis, Bidcorp said.
Its group sales peaked in the week to end August 2 at 87 percent compared to the same corresponding week last year, but sales eased to 71 percent of the corresponding weekly sales for the week to end November 8.
“All our businesses continue to fully operate in each geography, however, each country is at a different stage of the Covid-19 crisis,” Bidcorp said.
In the UK, the group said Bidfood UK sales improved through the summer period assisted by the Shield Pack business in July, the “Eat out to Help Out” scheme in August and the return of the education sector in September.
The group said Fresh UK sales in September were 57 percent of last year, down from 61 percent in August.
“However, as reported, Covid-19 cases increased, sales in our UK operations decreased in October and November as local and national restrictions began to bite,” the group said.
Its Europe sales reached a low of 48 percent for the week to end November 8 compared to the same week last year, with activity levels hurt by the second wave of lockdowns which limited activity across Europe from mid-October onwards.
Bishop said the muted activity levels were likely to continue through the winter season. Chief executive Bernard
Berson said although their financial results were down, their motivation and confidence were up.
“Our competitive position is good even though our industry has been particularly hard hit. We believe hospitality will bounce back strongly and we will be ready to take advantage of these opportunities,” Berson said.
Bidcorp reported cash and cash equivalents of R7.2 billion at the end of September with gross borrowings of R11.7bn.
Bidcorp shares rose 3.10 percent on the JSE yesterday to close at R285.10.