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May 12, 2021, 2:16 a.m. EDT

Ahold Delhaize profit falls on virus costs

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By Matteo Castia

Koninklijke Ahold Delhaize NV said Wednesday that sales rose in the first quarter but that the coronavirus pandemic continued to generate sustained costs which hurt profitability.

The Dutch grocer made a first-quarter net profit of 550 million euros ($668.3 million) compared with a restated EUR645 million for the year-earlier period.

Net sales rose to EUR18.26 billion from EUR18.21 billion the prior year. However, the company said it was hit by coronavirus costs of EUR150 million in the period.

Net sales were up 5.8% on year on a constant-exchange basis. On a like-for-like basis, U.S. and European net sales excluding gas rose 16% and 18% over their 2019 comparables, respectively.

Quarterly underlying earnings per share came in at EUR0.54, down 8.4% on year but up 38% over the two-year-earlier period.

The company raised its full-year guidance for underlying earnings per share to a range in the low to mid teens, up from the previously forecast range of mid to high single digits.

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