Orora Shakes Off Virus To Package Better Outlook

Shares in packing group, Orora, surged more than 8% in one of the best days for the stock this year after the company said it had shaken off the impact of COVID that many investors had thought would threaten its core bottling operations.

The company’s AGM was told yesterday that first-quarter earnings of its Australian beverages business is in line with the same period of last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the country and sales across a wide range of retailing sectors, especially convenience and liquor chains as well as exports.

Addressing the company’s virtual meeting yesterday, CEO Brian Lowe said Orora’s Australian beverages business was a “market leader” in all segments it operated in, and like Orora’s other divisions had continued operations during COVID-19 because of its status as an essential service provider.
The shares rose 8% to $2.71.

The company’s Australian beverages division manufactures bottles beer, wine, soft drinks, and fruit juice. It is a major supplier to many wine groups and exporters such as Treasury Wine Estates,

“As we move further into financial year 2020-21, the combination of COVID-19 and the pending US election sees some challenge and uncertainty persisting. However, Orora’s businesses continue to prove their strength and resilience, with all three continuing to operate as essential service providers,” he said.

“In North America, both the OPS and Orora Visual businesses have been trading steadily with EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) across both businesses tracking ahead of the first quarter of last year.

“The strengthening of the North American performance comes off the back of comprehensive business improvement plans. These plans have delivered, despite the ongoing challenge and uncertainty within that region,” Mr Lowe said.

And looking to 2021, the meeting was told the company had a couple of major objectives:

“The Australasian Beverage business will continue to identify and implement cost reduction opportunities, invest in asset upgrades, new capacity and innovation,” the company told shareholders.

“In North America, the businesses will continue to consolidate and deliver by driving sales growth, margin improvement and cost efficiency,” shareholders heard

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

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