Bonduelle is the latest in a lengthening list of food companies to put financial guidance on hold because of market disruption caused by the deadly coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) pandemic that originated in Wuhan, China late last year and has since spread globally.
The Villeneuve d’Ascq, France-headquartered vegetable specialist, which operates 56 production and packing sites around the world, reports that while it has experienced strong demand for frozen and canned products among retail buyers, there has been high volatility in the fresh vegetable sector and the foodservice market has collapsed. Furthermore, high costs of overruns, some of which can’t be passed on to customers, are having a negative impact.
“Given the uncertainties generated by the Covid-19 health crisis, the lack of visibility in terms of how it will develop, and therefore the inability to anticipate its impact, the Bonduelle Group is suspending the objectives set forth at the time of publication of the 2019-2020 half-year results, which did not take into account the effects of the health crisis,” advised a statement issued on April 8.
The company, which quickly took action to limit adverse effects from the coronavirus pandemic, has told investors and other observers that its “healthy financial structure, as well as its available and secured financing capacities, enable it to deal with the potential consequences of the pandemic on its activity.”
Bonduelle’s top priority for now is to make workplaces safe in order to protect and reassure employees as well as suppliers, partners and customers. As such, the company has set up a specific work structure and is ensuring strict compliance with the heightened health and safety rules during this challenging period.
The civic commitment of the group and its teams in the fight against coronavirus and aid to the needy includes product donations for families in difficulty in the United States as well as donations to food banks in Canada and France.
“While the current health crisis has put much of the global economy on the back burner, nature’s cycle goes on,” said Bonduelle. “In spite of the difficulties caused by this situation, the extraordinary mobilization of our teams makes it possible for the moment to maintain the activity of all the sites and to prepare the start of the coming harvest for which the availability of manpower will be essential and will require a strong mobilization.”
An update on the financial situation and further impacts of the pandemic will be given when the 2019-2020 third quarter revenue report is issued in due course. In the last fiscal year the company generated €2.77 billion in sales.