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Firm stops stockpiling in UK after Brexit delay

The world's biggest sandwich maker, Irish firm Greencore, is ready to stockpile ingredients in the UK and change recipes in the event of a hard Brexit that could hit supply lines, according to the managing director of its UK business. (stock picture)
The world's biggest sandwich maker, Irish firm Greencore, is ready to stockpile ingredients in the UK and change recipes in the event of a hard Brexit that could hit supply lines, according to the managing director of its UK business. (stock picture)

By John Mulligan

Irish convenience food giant Greencore has ceased stockpiling ingredients in the UK for now after the likely Brexit date was extended to October.

But chief executive Patrick Coveney said the group remains ready to initiate contingency plans including airlifts of produce if a hard exit by the UK from the EU looks likely.

Earlier this year, Greencore -which manufactures about 706 million food-to-go items including sandwiches every year - had been stockpiling ingredients from prawns to tomato paste as it prepared for a hard Brexit in March. But with the Brexit deadline now extended to the end of October, companies have more breathing room to ready themselves for such a scenario.

"We're not really stockpiling anything at the moment," Mr Coveney said.

"But we're not seeing any sign of a [Brexit] solution, so we'll be using the same contingent planning that we had earlier this year."

The company had activated an airfreight contingency for flying some types of salad leaf from southern Europe in advance of the previous March deadline.

Mr Coveney was speaking as Greencore released first-half financial results.

Its reported revenue for the six months to the end of March fell 4.6% to £701.4m, but was 5.4% higher on a pro-forma basis. That reflected the disposal of UK sites and businesses. Greencore also exited its US business last October.

The group's adjusted operating profit in the latest period edged 0.9% higher to £44.7m.

Belfast Telegraph

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