Ocado meets forecasts with rise in earnings

Tim Steiner
Tim Steiner
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British online grocer Ocado met forecasts with a 13.8 per cent rise in full-year core earnings and said it expected to sign multiple overseas deals in the medium term.

Analysts see securing international deals in north America and western Europe as the key driver of Ocado’s stock market valuation and the company said back in February 2015 that it hoped to secure one by the end of 2015.The firm, whose range includes products supplied by upmarket grocer Waitrose and also has a distribution agreement with Morrisons, said it made earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of 81.5 million pounds ($117.2 million) in the year to November 29.

That compared to analysts’ average forecast of 81 million pounds and 71.6 million pounds made in the 2013-14 year.

“Our ability to package our unique proprietary technology, including our equipment solution, for retail partners outside the UK through our Ocado Smart Platform is proving to be of great interest to a significant number of retailers,” said Chief Executive Tim Steiner.

“We expect to sign multiple deals in multiple territories in the medium term.”

Ocado had previously reported full-year group sales rose 17.3 per cent to £1.2bn. Retail sales increased 14.7 per cent, with growth slowing to 13 per cent in its fourth quarter.

Media reports have periodically linked the firm with a bid from Amazon to accelerate the U.S. firm’s expansion into the UK grocery market.