COVID-19 pandemic hits Aryzta third-quarter revenue

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss-Irish baked goods company Aryzta <ARYN.S> said on Tuesday market conditions and prospects deteriorated sharply since mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to a steep decline in April revenue.

The group, which is being targeted by activist investors Veraison and Cobas Asset Management, said it had taken action to maximise cash and reduce costs and had seen some early signs of recovery in May.

“It is now clear that COVID-19 will have a material impact on group performance in full year 2020,” Aryzta said in a statement, adding it was not yet possible to fully gauge the consequences.

Group revenue fell 24% to 644.2 million euros (575.70 million pounds) in the quarter to April 30, Aryzta said. It had then seen three consecutive weeks of revenue improvement in May.

Aryzta said on Monday it would hold an extraordinary general meeting by mid-August following a request by Veraison and Cobas Asset Management, which earlier in May announced a tie-up encompassing 17.3% of shares.

In April, Aryzta appointed Rothschild & Co to review its strategic and financial options to maximise value for all stakeholders. The review is expected to be concluded at the latest by end of July, Aryzta said.

(Reporting by Silke Koltrowitz; editing by Brenna Hughes Neghaiwi)

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