Despite a warehouse fire, is online grocer Ocado still hot in the eyes of investors?
First-half results for the six months ending 30 April 2019
- Revenue rose 10.9% to £882.3 million
- Loss before tax widened to £142.8 million from £13.6 million
- Adjusted pre-tax loss grew to £43 million from £13 million
- No dividend declared
Chief executive Tim Steiner said:
"In the last six months the centre of gravity at Ocado Group (LSE:OCDO) has shifted. Our exciting new joint venture with Marks & Spencer Group (LSE:MKS) creates further growth opportunities for both parties in the UK and allows Ocado Group to increase focus on growing our Ocado Solutions business and innovating for our partners. At the same time we are beginning to apply our technology skills and expertise to other related activities which we expect to be of benefit to our Solutions partners as well as to other Ocado Group stakeholders."
This online grocery retailer was founded in 2000 and listed on the London Stock Exchange in July 2010 at an IPO price of 180p per share.
Today it operates two divisions - Retail and Solutions. Retail is the company’s own online supermarket business, while Solutions is responsible for corporate partnerships with online retailers using the Ocado Smart Platform software and technology.
Ocado has over 700,000 active customers, with around 1,000 robots powering its newest warehouse.
For a round-up of these half-year results, please click here.
The difficulty in accurately valuing a growing but loss-making online business such as Ocado divides both analysts and investors. With a stock market value of £8.7 billion, nearly twice that of traditional retailer Sainsbury's (LSE:SBRY) (£4.4 billion), investors look to have already priced in a lot of good news.
Arguably, Sainsbury’s and other traditional supermarkets do not offer a direct comparison. Ocado has won large contracts with significant overseas retailers, and its technology tag clearly warrants serious consideration when attempting to paint a picture of future prospects. However, while recent progress has been impressive, given the degree of forecasting necessary, the stock remains an investment for higher risk investors.
- Active customers up 9.7% to 745,000
- Signed sixth international partnership
- Fees invoiced from solutions partners up 36% to £122.7 million
- Warehouse fire caused £142.8 million loss
- Doesn’t pay a dividend
- Ongoing need for heavy investment
The average rating of stock market analysts:
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