Ahold Delhaize Q2 Underlying Profit Declines; Raises 2021 Underlying Earnings Guidance

Ahold Delhaize (ADRND.PK,AHODF.PK) said it is pleased with the second-quarter performance as the Group continues to be in a strategically stronger position in 2021 relative to the time before the COVID-19 pandemic began. Group underlying operating margin was 4.5% for the second-quarter, down 0.8 percentage points from the prior year at constant exchange rates, as margins lapped unusually high levels in the prior year due to COVID-19. The second-quarter results provided management the confidence to once again raise the underlying earnings per share growth outlook for 2021, and to raise the underlying operating margin outlook for 2021.

Second-quarter income from continuing operations declined to 540 million euros from 693 million euros, prior year. Income per share from continuing operations was 0.52 euros compared to 0.65 euros. Underlying operating income was 832 million euros, a decline of 17.6%, or down 12.2% at constant rates from prior year. Underlying income per share from continuing operations was 0.53 euros compared to 0.65 euros.

Second-quarter Group net sales were 18.6 billion euros, down 2.4% at actual exchange rates, but up 3.0% at constant exchange rates, impacted by unfavorable foreign exchange rate, acquisitions, a rebound in gasoline sales, and flat comparable sales growth excluding gasoline.

Frans Muller, CEO of Ahold Delhaize, said: "Group net sales was exemplified by the acceleration in the Group two-year comparable sales stack in second quarter to 16.4%, versus growth of 14.4% in full year 2020. The two-year comparable sales stack growth rates were strong in both of our regions, but particularly in the U.S."

For 2021, the Group underlying operating margin outlook has been raised to approximately 4.3%, versus at least 4.0% previously. Underlying EPS guidance has been raised and is now expected to grow in the high-teen range relative to 2019 earnings, versus low- to mid-teen growth previously.

For 2021, the interim dividend is 0.43 euros per common share. The 2021 interim dividend will be paid on September 2, 2021.

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