May 4, 2020 / 5:08 PM / 25 days ago

COVID-19 stockpiling boosts Bonduelle's third-quarter revenue

Bonduelle canned processed vegetables are displayed on shelves in an Intermarche supermarket in Lanton, Southwestern France, August 30, 2013. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo IMAGE

(Reuters) - France’s Bonduelle on Monday posted a sharp rise in third-quarter revenue as Europeans rushed to shops to stockpile longer-lasting food products before the start of COVID-19 related lockdown measures.

The frozen food and ready-made meals producer said its January-March revenue rose 10.6% year-on-year on a comparable basis to 761.2 million euros ($831.4 million), boosted by an “atypical acceleration” in canned and frozen food sales in March in Europe.

The stockpiling effect was also seen to a lesser extent outside Europe, mainly in Russia, the United States and Canada, as the countries introduced less strict lockdown measures later than Europe.

Sales is January and February were more or less stable year-on-year, Bonduelle added.

The firm, however, warned that its frozen food and bagged salads businesses would suffer in its fourth quarter to the end of June as restaurant closures and consumers’ shrinking appetite for fresh food with a short shelf life would weigh in both Europe and North America.

Last month, Bonduelle suspended its full-year objectives due to the contrasting performance of its divisions, with high demand for frozen products and high volatility in fresh food, and the high level of uncertainty linked to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the 2018-2019 year, frozen and canned food accounted for 76% of Bonduelle’s revenue.

($1 = 0.9156 euros)

Reporting by Piotr Lipinski in Gdansk; Editing by Kirsten Donovan

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