Belfast Telegraph

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Web grocer Ocado eyes overseas expansion

By Holly Williams

Online grocer Ocado confirmed hopes to agree an international tie-up before the end of the year as it posted a hike in half-year earnings.

The firm, which delivers goods for both Waitrose and Morrisons, has seen shares rise by 30% over the last three months on increasing speculation over a long-awaited deal to sell its technology to overseas retailers.

The company has a Northern Ireland aisle on its website, featuring foods from suppliers like Punjana and Linwoods.

Chief executive Tim Steiner said Ocado was "excited by the possibility" of an international agreement, with the firm stressing it had progressed talks with a number of possible partners outside of the UK.

Half-year figures showed underlying earnings rose 11.4% to £38.2m in the 24 weeks to May 17 on sales 15.7% higher.

Bottom line profits dipped to £7.2m from £7.5m a year earlier.

Ocado revealed in February it made an annual profit for the first time since it was founded nearly 15 years ago, producing a bottom-line surplus of £7.2m after sales jumped by nearly 20%.

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