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Berentzen Group publishes interim report for the first quarter of 2020: Positive start to the year – Coronavirus pandemic has a dampening effect

  • Consolidated revenues largely at the level of Q1 2019
  • Consolidated EBIT and EBITDA are positive but lower than the year-ago figures, as recently anticipated
  • Still not possible to make a concrete forecast for the 2020 financial year

Haselünne, May 6, 2020 – Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft , which is listed on the Regulated Market (General Standard) of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (ISIN: DE0005201602), today presented its interim report for the first quarter of the 2020 financial year. Over the first three months of this year, the corporate group generated consolidated revenues of EUR 36.2 million (Q1 2019: EUR 36.9 million), reflecting a slight decline of 1.9 percent from the comparable period of last year. Consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (consolidated EBIT) for the first quarter stood at EUR 1.1 million (Q1 2019: EUR 1.7 million). Consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (consolidated EBITDA) came to EUR 3.2 million (Q1 2019: EUR 3.7 million).

“Our three key performance indicators are therefore within the ranges we had forecast for the first quarter of 2020 in our capital market announcement in late March”, said Oliver Schwegmann, one of the members of the Executive Board of Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft, adding: “As expected, we as a company are feeling the adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy and society.” He went on to say that three factors in particular are currently producing adverse effects. First, the hospitality trade to which the Group sells spirits and non-alcoholic beverages has come to a near total standstill. Second, marketing activities in the food retail sector have been significantly reduced. Third, the Fresh Juice Systems segment of the Berentzen Group is experiencing a significant drop in orders for fruit presses because companies are currently putting off purchases of capital goods. “Our Fresh Juice Systems segment has been the hardest hit in terms of both sales and revenues by the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic”, Schwegmann said. 

While Groupwide revenues remained relatively stable compared to the first quarter of last year, the gross profit declined considerably due to a less advantageous segment mix. “This is mainly attributable to the challenges outlined earlier,” Schwegmann explained. The earnings indicators EBIT und EBITDA are bearing nearly the full brunt of this effect because overhead costs were largely at the level of the year-ago comparison period. “Although we were quick to initiate business measures to counteract the adverse effects of the current pandemic, these measures will only take full effect over the course of the coming weeks and months”, Schwegmann said.

These measures included a substantial reduction of capital expenditures and various budgetary cuts, as well as the introduction of short-time work in especially hard-hit areas of the company.

He pointed out that the corporate group has implemented strict physical distancing and hygiene rules, a comprehensive shift and presence concept, the more intensive use of home offices, and travel and meeting restrictions. “These measures also support the production and delivery capabilities of the Berentzen Group and therefore ensure its operational performance capacity”, Schwegmann said.

Living up to its social responsibility, the Berentzen Group has decided to make a contribution to the supply of urgently needed disinfectants to the best of its ability. Schwegmann said that the Group is producing disinfectants itself in a manual production and filling operation and donating them to regional hospitals and nursing homes. In addition, the Group is shipping ethanol, an important raw ingredient for disinfectant production, to pharmacies and is also delivering larger quantities of ethanol to a cooperation partner that is using it to produce disinfectants on an industrial scale. These disinfectants are also being donated to medical facilities.

Particular attention is being given to conserving the company’s liquidity in these challenging times. “Within the scope of its funding structure, the Berentzen Group disposes of total funding that enables it to absorb any reduction of the Group’s internal funding capacity resulting from a lower operating cash flow, for example”, said Ralf Brühöfner, the member of the Executive Board of Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft who is responsible for finance, among other remits. Nevertheless, the Berentzen Group is continually assessing additional corporate financing options in view of the coronavirus pandemic and its inestimable further development.

Further outlook for the 2020 financial year

In a capital market announcement on March 26, 2020, the Executive Board of Berentzen-Gruppe Aktiengesellschaft stated that it was not possible at that time to offer a sufficiently reliable and assured forecast of the Berentzen Group’s business performance in the further course of the 2020 financial year due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Since then, the fluid and unique nature of this situation has not changed, so that it is still not possible to offer a new, updated forecast at the present time due to the persistent uncertainties. “However, we expect that we will not be impacted by the effects of the coronavirus to the same degree as many other companies and sectors. Therefore, we continue to expect a positive EBIT in the current year”, Schwegmann noted in conclusion. He said that an updated forecast will be published as soon as available data and knowledge allow for a reliable estimate.