France’s Fleury Michon has become the latest food manufacturer to pull its financial guidance for 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19.

In January, the prepared salads and deli-meats maker said it expected “improvement” in its results this year versus 2019, with an expectation sales and profits would grow in each of its divisions.

However, Fleury Michon, reporting its 2019 financial results yesterday (7 April), has withdrawn even that non-specific guidance following the impact the coronavirus outbreak has had on its various divisions.

In March, as France adapted to government lockdown measures, the company saw, for example, the sales of its cured meat and seafood products through supermarkets grow. By contrast, sales from Fleury Michon’s division that caters for airlines “suffered greatly” due to the slump in flights worldwide, while sales to corporate clients were also hit as companies instituted travel restrictions and working from home.

Fleury Michon did see its overall sales across the whole first quarter grow, not just due to sales to French supermarkets – which account for more than 80% of its business – throughout the period but also due to the better performance of its catering and airline businesses in January and February. Total first-quarter revenue rose 13.8% to EUR193.3m (US$169.8m).

The result followed a 2019 in which Fleury Michon’s turnover grew 3.1% to EUR747.6m. Stripping out M&A, turnover fell 1.4%.

The company made an operating loss in 2019 of EUR19.6m, against an operating income of EUR18.7m.

“After a very difficult year in 2019, we have started to put in place the measures necessary for the group’s recovery. Given the many uncertainties linked to the Covid-19 crisis, the group is however unable to confirm the outlook previously communicated. New perspectives will be established after this period of crisis,” CEO Billy Salha said.