Belgian fresh produce firm Greenyard has reported a 2.3% increase in like-for-like sales in the first quarter of its financial year, to €1.17 billion, which reflects a 'significant step-up' in business over the past year, the group said.
The first-quarter growth is all the more significant when you take into account the tough comparatives with the corresponding period last year, in which like-for-like growth was 11.9% – an 'exceptional' quarter driven by the first wave of the pandemic.
Greenyard, which recently announced the sale of its Dutch mushroom processing business, said that its Fresh segment grew by 1.7% on a like-for-like basis, or 1.2% on a reported basis, to €970.2 million, up from €959 million in the corresponding quarter last year.
The group said that 75% of Fresh sales resulted from 'integrated customer models' with its retail customers which in turn generated a 'stable' margin.
Greenyard's Long Fresh segment grew by 5.4% compared to the same quarter last year, to €200.6 million, with an improvement in performance in its foodservice and food industry customer segments.
Greenyard also said that it has increased the percentage of sales from convenience and frozen fruit to 31% of the division's turnover, in line with consumer demand.
Greenyard's board of directors also announced plans to commence a share buyback programme, of up to 600,000 shares, for a duration of six months.
The share buyback programme could potentially increase treasury shares to around 3.8% of total outstanding shares, the company said.
'The share buyback will be used for the sole purpose of meeting obligations arising from existing incentive plans,' it noted.
Greenyard reported sales of €4.4 billion in its 2020/21 financial year.