ORIOR Group generated revenues of CHF 287.4 million in the first half of 2020, which corresponds to an increase of 2.8 % from the prior-year period. The measures imposed by government officials to contain the coronavirus pandemic, including widespread travel restrictions, and the ensuing shifts in consumer needs led to in some cases sharp declines in revenues from food service channels and Casualfood. Thanks to ORIOR Group's flexibility and agility, market intimacy, and broad range of operations, it swiftly recalibrated its product mix to accommodate a surge in demand from retail customers. The lost sales from the food service channel were more than offset at the organic level by the increase in sales with customers in the retail industry. The gastronomy channel was better than expected in the first few weeks after lockdown restrictions were eased; air traffic has been gradually increasing since June 2020 too. Organic revenues increased 0.2%, which is a good performance within the context of the difficult situation. Revenue growth was driven by the ORIOR Refinement and ORIOR International segments. Acquisitions had a positive effect of 4.0% on Group revenues, which reflects the purchase of the second tranche of Casualfood shares in the autumn of 2019 and the ensuing full consolidation of the subsidiary. Currency translation had a negative effect of –1.4% on Group revenues.
ORIOR Refinement achieved very good organic growth of 3.7% to CHF 131.9 million, fuelled by the sharp rise in demand from the retail channel. The Convenience segment was unable to offset the lost revenues of every product category in the food service business. Sales of fresh pasta and Biotta juices were very good, but sales of ready-made meals declined during the lockdown period. One reason for this was the change in consumption patterns as people had more time to prepare meals at home. Revenues declined by –3.9% from CHF 99.0 million in the prior-year period to CHF 95.2 million in the first half of 2020. The International segment was hit hard by the near complete standstill in air travel. Casualfood was forced to close nearly all of its sales outlets. The Belgium-based Culinor Food Group also observed a change in consumption in its ready meal product lines, but its home delivery business experienced strong growth. Business at Gesa and Spiess Europe was very pleasing. Overall the International segment achieved organic growth of 0.3%, which is a likewise solid performance considering the impact of the coronavirus. Segment revenues amounted to CHF 74.8 million compared to CHF 67.3 million in the first half of the previous year. The acquisition effect from the takeover of Casualfood amounted to 16.6%, and the foreign currency effect on reported segment revenues was clearly negative at – 5.8%.
ORIOR had already held initial meetings and begun to prepare scenario planning in February 2020 in the event of a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus. Shortly afterwards detailed, multi-stage action plans and precautionary concepts had been drawn up and were gradually executed or introduced as the crisis unfolded. This systematic and anticipatory approach enabled us to make swift and unprecedented adjustments to our logistics operations and other operating processes and across our organisation at critical moments of the coronavirus pandemic in response to the official orders and guidelines. Consequently, employee health and safety was protected at all times and our constant supply capability was ensured, which in the end was a vital factor for the overall good revenues. Compliance with emergency measures entailed significant, mostly non-recurring additional costs as well as a temporary upturn in employee absence rates. Together with the adjustments and shifts in the sales channels and product mix and the near standstill of Casualfood's operations, this took a toll on profitability. Some of the margin pressure was offset by stringent cost management and by temporary measures such as short-time work. Nevertheless, operating profitability (EBITDA) will not reach the level reported for the prior-year period. Detailed results will be released on August 19, 2020. In light of the ongoing volatile situation in connection with the coronavirus, the half-year report will include an update of management guidance for the full year. The scope and level of detail of this guidance have not yet been determined.
ORIOR is publishing its second Sustainability Report in accordance with the GRI Standards. This report will also include a new section on ORIOR's efforts towards achievement of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Sustainability Report contains detailed information about the company's progress and challenges and the measures and initiatives taken to promote sustainability within the key areas of activity at ORIOR: “Safe and healthy food”, “Sustainable raw materials”, “Animal welfare”, “Food waste and packaging”, “Climate and energy”, “Water”, “Employee development", “Occupational safety and health” and “Financial performance”.
> Download: ORIOR Sustainability Report 2019