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Orkla Says Coronavirus Hoarding Led To Q1 Sales Boom

By Steve Wynne-Jones
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Nordic consumer goods maker Orkla saw a sales boom in March amid the coronavirus pandemic as customers stocked up on food and other essentials, the company said in a preliminary update on Friday.

First-quarter revenue rose by 13% year-on-year as lockdowns to combat the spread of the virus prompted people to eat more meals at home and fewer at restaurants or at work.

"The hoarding effect eased towards the end of March and into April, but year over year growth remained at a higher level compared to January/February," Orkla said in a statement.

Revenue Gains

Revenue stood at NOK 11.51 billion (€1.02 billion) for the January-March quarter, up from NOK 10.18 billion a year ago and beating the average forecast of NOK 11.0 billion among analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.

Best known in its native Norway for Grandiosa pizzas and Toro dry soups, Orkla also produces detergents, toothbrushes and other household staples, making it a favourite among investors seeking a reliable cash flow during the downturn.

While global stock markets are down sharply in 2020 as many industries saw an abrupt slowdown in demand, Orkla's shares have risen 26% since mid-March, hitting a 12-year high above NOK 97 on Thursday.

The company will release its full report on earnings for the quarter on May 5.

On Thursday, Danish competitor Chr Hansen, a major producer of food ingredients, reported a sales boost from the virus lockdown, spurring a rally in its shares.

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