Greencore halts production at Northampton plant due to Covid-19

Shares recover after earlier stutter as company moves some production to other group facilities

Shares in the company were down over 6 per cent in early afternoon trading on the news

Shares in the company were down over 6 per cent in early afternoon trading on the news

 

Shares in Irish-founded sandwich maker Greencore slumped on Friday after it announced it is to temporarily cease production at its plant in Northampton due to an ongoing Covid-19 outbreak.

In a statement, the London-listed company said it it to cease production at the facility at the end of today to allow staff to self-isolate as a precautionary measure.

Greencore said it has moved some production from the plant to other group sites and was working with customers to help mitigate any shortfall.

Shares fell more than 6 per cent at one point, before recovering to close 1.7 per cent lower at 123.90 pence.

The company last Thursday revealed that nearly 300 workers at the Northampton factory had tested positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Greencore said on Friday it is in contact with local authorities and was working closely with them to bring the site back into production as soon as possible.

Greencore is the largest manufacturer of pre-packed sandwiches in Britain and supplies most of the big retail multiples, including Marks & Spencer, Waitrose, Sainsbury’s and Tesco.

Northampton is the company’s largest plant, employing 2,100 of its 11,000 staff.

Unions representing workers at the facility said last week that staff were told they would be paid less than £100 (€111) a week if they had to self-isolate, making it difficult for many to comply.

Greencore estimated the site would be up and running again within 14 days and that the closure would have a “modest impact” on full-year adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (ebtida).

Shares in the company were down over 8 per cent in London in early afternoon trading after news of the site closure became known.