Resilient Bakkavor Group reports annual results

Bakkavor Group plc, the leading international provider of fresh prepared food, has just announced its full year results for the 52-week period ended 26 December 2020.

Group revenue stood at 4.9% lower at £1,793.5m, with demand returning to its fresh, convenient foods outside of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

For the UK, revenues decreased by 5.2% to £1,566.6m, due to lower consumer demand, particularly across the food-to-go range.

The US delivered strong growth of 12.2% to £146.5m, benefitting from the growing demand for fresh meals, but China revenues were 21.8% lower at £80.4m, reflecting a steady recovery following a 60% downturn in February 2020.

The group's operating profit decreased 10.7% to £62m, with margins decreasing by 20 basis points to 3.5%, albeit operating margins improved to 5.3% in H2, through more stabilised trading, a strong US performance and strategic restructurings across all regions.

Decisive actions have been taken to preserve cash, lower cost base and protect profitability in response to pandemic, including the temporary and permanent closures of food-to-go and Salads sites, and simplification of ranges in response to lower consumer demand.

Operational net debt decreased by £21.4m to £333.4m and the firm remains in a strong financial position supported by over £200m of liquidity headroom with funding maturities now extended to 2025.

CEO Agust Gudmundsson (pictured) said, 'In what was a year like no other, the external environment was the most challenging it has ever been. I am extremely proud of the resilience our business has shown and I would like to thank all our colleagues for their hard work and dedication.

'Despite the UK Government's roadmap, with lockdown restrictions in the UK continuing into the spring, the short-term trading environment remains uncertain, but we are encouraged by the way consumers have returned to our fresher, healthier and more convenient foods each time these restrictions have lifted.

'Our unique position of scale, expertise and strong customer relationships have served us well during this extraordinary period, and they remain key as we continue to grow our market share and further strengthen our leadership position.'

Gudmundsson continued, 'The actions taken in 2020 to preserve cash and protect profitability across the business, combined with the successful turnaround of our US business, and the strength of our financial position, leave the Group well placed to deliver further growth.

'The way that Bakkavor has been able to rapidly adapt, find new ways of working, and drive the business forward through the COVID-19 crisis provides us with additional confidence for the future.'

Gudmundsson closed, 'We will continue to play an essential role in supporting our customers and communities and we are in great shape to deliver for all stakeholders in 2021 and beyond.'