In a statement, it said: “There has been a marked reduction in demand for the group’s food-to-go categories in grocery retail, which has been partly offset by the sustained volume growth in the group’s other convenience categories.”
Greencore said it was tightening its production network and furloughing affected colleagues, using the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
In addition to the board and executive directors taking a 30% reduction in respective fees and base salary for a period of three months, the wider group leadership team has also taken a voluntary reduction of 20% of base salary for the same period. It said this would be kept under review.
Greencore said it was playing a “systemically important role” in a reset food industry that has become a critical component of the UK infrastructure through this pandemic.
The company added that as its staff had been designated as ‘key workers’, there was a powerful sense of “commitment, skill, spirit, and purpose” across the workforce in performing this role.
Greencore said it had carried out a wide range of precautions and enhanced safety measures, focusing, in particular, on implementing an extensive set of social distancing initiatives across its manufacturing and distribution network.
It also revealed it was working hard with customers as well as Government agencies, including the NHS and local communities, to leverage its capability and capacity to provide high-quality freshly prepared food to both consumers and frontline workers during the pandemic.
Greencore said it would continue to focus on balance sheet strength and liquidity and would defer a substantial portion of previously planned capital expenditure and would not be proceeding with an interim FY20 dividend payment. The group said it retained substantial and increased financial headroom, with cash and undrawn committed bank facilities of approximately £265m at 27 March 2020. This included a newly agreed additional £75m committed debt facility, due to mature in March 2021.
It said that with the ongoing level of uncertainty around the possible duration and impact of COVID-19, the group was suspending financial guidance and its outlook for FY20.
Greencore supplies grocery and other retailers in a range of categories including sandwiches, salads, sushi, chilled snacking, chilled ready meals, chilled soups and sauces, chilled quiche, ambient sauces and pickles, and frozen Yorkshire Puddings.
Last week, Greencore announced the appointment of Emma Hynes a executive director and chief financial officer.