Ocado Group has maintained its full-year outlook as it dipped to a first-half loss, driven by a fall in sales at its retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer.
The group made a loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of £14 million (€16.4 million) in the six months to May 29, versus earnings of £61 million (€71.6 million) in the same period of its 2020-21 year.
"The last six months has seen significant progress at Ocado Group and we have put all the building blocks in place to deliver profitable growth and strong cash flows," commented Tim Steiner, Ocado Group chief executive.
"Our International Solutions business has good momentum, with 16 CFCs now open, of 58 committed so far. Each of these CFCs will generate dependable, recurring cash flows and attractive returns on capital."
The Ocado Retail joint venture saw a £72.8 million (€85.5 million) reduction in EBITDA due to an 8% fall in sales and cost inflation.
It said the sales fall reflected tough comparatives as the grocery market contracted after the pandemic and a cost of living crisis took hold in Britain.
The group, whose shares have lost half their value so far this year, also reported a first-half pretax loss of £211 million.
In May, the Ocado Retail joint venture warned sales this financial year would grow in the low single digits rather than the 10% it previously guided, while its core earnings margin would be in the low single digits.
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Prior to Ocado's update, analysts were on average forecasting a full year 2021-22 EBITDA of just £4 million (€4.68 million), versus £61 million (€71.4 milion) made in 2020-21.
They were also forecasting an underlying pretax loss of £353 million, versus a loss of £177 million in 2020-21.
"Following our recent successful financing, we now have a strong financial position and ample liquidity to fund the requirements of our existing and expected customer commitments into the mid-term," Steiner added.