March 25, 2020 / 7:29 AM / 14 days ago

Israeli foodmaker Strauss Q4 profit up, demand growing during virus crisis

JERUSALEM, March 25 (Reuters) - Israeli foodmaker Strauss Group said on Wednesday fourth-quarter net profit rose and said it has seen increased demand for its products since the start of the coronavirus crisis.

Strauss, a maker of snacks, fresh food and coffee, posted adjusted net profit of 101 million shekels ($28 million) in the October-December period, up from 87 million a year earlier. Revenue dropped 1.6% to 2.11 billion shekels, though organic growth excluding foreign exchange effects was 2.7%.

Looking forward, CEO Giora Bardea said Strauss was “applying all available measures to continue to produce and supply food to consumers, particularly at a time when people are spending more time at home.

“Although this is a continuously developing crisis of which the ramifications are yet to be finalised, we believe we are well positioned to deal with different scenarios following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease in order to continue to meet the growing demand for our products,” he said.

Coffee sales dropped 8.4% from a year earlier to 933 million shekels, or 0.8% excluding foreign exchange effects. Strauss is one of the market leaders for roast and ground coffee in central and eastern Europe and Brazil.

Sales at its international dips and spreads joint venture with Pepsico rose 1% and were up 7.7% excluding exchange effects. Sales in Israel grew 4.7% while Strauss Water sales increased 7.7%.

Strauss is the second-largest company in the Israeli food industry and its market share in 2019 rose to 11.9% from 11.6% a year earlier. ($1 = 3.5959 shekels) (Reporting by Ari Rabinovitch; Editing by Tova Cohen)

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