Technology

Britain's Ocado Counts Cost Of Fire At Flagship Warehouse

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British online supermarket and technology group Ocado has reported an increase in annual pretax losses and a 27% fall in core earnings, mainly due to a fire which destroyed a hi-tech flagship warehouse in Andover, southern England.

Ocado, whose shares have risen 35% over the last year due to overseas technology deals, said on Tuesday its loss before tax widened to £214.5 million (€253.9 million) in the year to December 1 2019 versus £44.4 million (€53.5 million) in 2017-18.

The loss reflected exceptional charges of £94.1 million (€111.25 million) relating to the write-down of the Andover site.

Ocado made earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £43.3 million, versus a re-stated £59.5 million for 2017-18.

That outcome, which also reflected accounting changes and the costs of share schemes, was broadly in line with analysts' consensus forecast.

Looking Ahead

For the 2019-2020 year Ocado forecast retail revenue growth of 10-15% and international technology fees of 40% or more.

It forecast EBITDA from retail above its revenue growth. However, EBITDA from UK solutions & logistics and from international solutions was forecast to decline.

Prior to Tuesday's update analysts' average forecast for 2019-20 EBITDA was £33 million.

News by Reuters, edited by ESM. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: European Supermarket Magazine.

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