July 24, 2020 / 6:26 AM / 11 days ago

Electrolux Pro slumps to loss amid pandemic, to cut more costs

FILE PHOTO: The Electrolux logo is seen during the IFA Electronics show in Berlin, Germany September 4, 2014. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke/File Photo

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Electrolux Professional EPROb.ST reported a loss for the second quarter on Friday, hit by a deep slump caused by the novel coronavirus pandemic that has hit key customer groups such as hotels and restaurants especially hard.

The commercial kitchen and laundry equipment maker said in a statement it would carry out additional cost cuts during the second half the year, aiming for total annual savings of 100-150 million Swedish crowns.

Electrolux Pro was hit hard early in the quarter as the novel coronavirus spread across Europe, but it said sales had recovered somewhat in June. On a like-for-like basis, sales fell 20% in June after a decline of 50% in April and May.

“Sales in the beginning of July are in line with the percentage decline registered in June. We interpret this as a sign of recovery,” CEO Alberto Zanata said.

Making its stock market debut at the most challenging of times in March, with equity prices plumbing the depths due to the raging pandemic, Electrolux Pro shares have doubled in value in recent months.

The impact of the pandemic and the widespread lockdowns to contain it has severely hit the hospitality industry, including hotels and restaurants, which accounts for about half of Electrolux Pro’s group sales.

The company ran a second-quarter operating loss of 18 million Swedish crowns (1.60 million pounds) versus a 401 million profit a year ago.

Sales at the company, which was listed after being spun off from home appliance maker Electrolux (ELUXb.ST), fell to 1.49 billion crowns from 2.46 billion in the year-earlier quarter, down 39.9% on a like-for-like basis.

Reporting by Helena Soderpalm; editing by Niklas Pollard

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