Meal-kit firm HelloFresh still aiming for higher 2022 targets, shares soar

·2 min read
FILE PHOTO: Spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in in Hamburg

By Elena Vardon and Tristan Chabba

(Reuters) - German meal-kit maker HelloFresh said on Monday it could still achieve its earlier 2022 outlook despite cutting the forecast last month, sending its shares up by as much as 10%.

The Berlin-based company, which delivers boxes with ingredients and recipes directly to consumers' doors, said in July that inflation, waning consumer confidence and the war in Ukraine would weigh on its earnings in the second half of the year.

"We are cautiously optimistic for the second half," CEO Dominik Richter told reporters on Monday. In a separate call with analysts, he added that the company still saw a good chance of landing within the guidance range issued last December.

HelloFresh shares had regained most of the losses suffered after the outlook cut by the middle of Monday's trading session, leaving them down by around half this year.

"Management said that it was still eyeing to land within the former FY guidance range, meaning that HelloFresh could meet the upper half of its new guidance, that the recent profit warning wasn't fully necessary and that the consensus might be a little bit shy," said Clement Genelot, analyst at Bryan Garnier.

HelloFresh had reduced its outlook for adjusted EBITDA to between 460 million euros and 530 million euros ($470.12 million - $541.66 million) from an original range of 500 million to 580 million euros.

Richter also said HelloFresh was "very well on track" to reach its 10-billion-euro revenue goal and 10% core profit (EBITDA) margin by 2025.

"That is something that hasn't changed since we first announced that in 2020, so we feel positive about the business not only in H2, but even more so how we trend against that mid-term target," he said.

The group, which serves more than eight million customers in 17 countries, reported a 7.5% fall in second-quarter adjusted EBITDA to 145.9 million euros, above analysts' forecast of 136 million and in line with its pre-announced range of 140-150 million euros.

"We've been largely mitigating inflation effects without passing on the higher costs in full to our customers," Richter said in a statement.

The company is advertising for staff in Spain and Ireland as it prepares for an autumn launch in two European countries.

($1 = 0.9771 euros)

(Reporting by Tristan Chabba and Elena Vardon in Gdansk; editing by Milla Nissi, Kirsten Donovan)