23 July 2020 - The Group’s net sales in the first half of 2020 amounted to €943 million, down 16.9% on the corresponding period in 2019, driven by COVID-19. Accordingly, EBITDA declined by €29 million to €27 million. Our belief in a successful future in Belgium is undiminished, but the impact of COVID-19 means that it will take longer than previously expected to recover to profitability in Belgium. This is why we have recognised a non-cash impairment (in particular, goodwill) of €60 million. Excluding this impairment, the Group’s net profit fell to a loss of €16 million.
Koen Slippens, CEO: "The COVID-19 outbreak and the measures that the government took in response to it, have had a major impact on our sales market. Group net sales, excluding tobacco products and De Kweker, have fallen by almost 55% since mid-March compared with last year. The second quarter saw a slow recovery with the gradual relaxation of the government measures, resulting in a decline of approximately 35% towards the end of June. De Kweker added €42 million in non-organic net sales and tobacco product sales have shown remarkable growth in recent months. We have protected our cash flow by means of a successful early intervention in our cost base, choosing our investments carefully, using government facilities and closely monitoring working capital. Even after the sharp decline in net sales, we were still able to achieve a positive EBITDA (even if adjusted for leases), however, our net profit was hit hard."
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