22 July 2021 - Group net sales for the first half of 2021 totalled €788 million, a COVID-19-driven decrease of 16.5% compared to the same period last year (Q2: increase of 12.0%). Despite the drop in net sales, the Group’s EBITDA increased by €8 million to €35 million. A net loss of €4 million remained for the first half of the year (net loss excluding impairment in the first half of 2020: €16 million).
Koen Slippens, CEO: "The year started with the strict lockdown that came into effect in the fourth quarter of last year. As a result, we were faced with 20 weeks of lockdown in the first half of the year, compared to 11 weeks in 2020. Additionally, where last year we were allowed to open up our cash-and-carry stores in the Netherlands to private individuals as well for 13 weeks, this was no longer the case in 2021. The sales markets were severely impacted by the effects of the lockdown up to mid-May. With the easing of the measures, we saw a strong recovery, especially in June. In the first half-year, net sales declined by 34% from the pre-COVID levels (Q2: decrease of 24%).
The cost-cutting measures taken and the flexible and decisive approach of our teams in the Netherlands and Belgium ensured that, despite a further dip in net sales, we were able to significantly improve the EBITDA over the first half of the year. Free cash flow was also positive, further reducing our debt position. As a result, we once again remained within the boundaries of our original financing covenants, even though a temporary easing was provided for.
We have been preparing for the restart in recent months, together with our customers and partners. This is now in full swing and we aim to give our customers plenty of scope to start doing business again. Though we are operating in a market marked by shortages of personnel, transport and goods, together we are moving ahead with plenty of energy and passion in order to achieve the best possible results. Sligro Food Group has a good reputation on the job market and is seen as a reliable employer, which helps us to retain and recruit many good employees despite the general job market tightness. For each other, and with each other!."
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