Bunzl lifts annual forecast as third-quarter revenue rises

© Reuters.

(Reuters) – Bunzl (LON:) Plc forecast on Tuesday a slight sales growth for 2021 after the supplies distributor reported an increase in its underlying third-quarter revenue on strong recovery in its base business in North America.

The British company, which provides everyday items including disposable tableware, food packaging, latex gloves and stationery to business customers, said while underlying revenue for July-September grew, a decline in sales of some of its COVID-19 products hurt Bunzl.

The London-based firm, which also supplies cleaning chemicals to the retail and hospitality industries and is known for making several bolt-on acquisitions, was helped by its latest deals and a few extra trading days in the period.

“Our acquisition pipeline remains active, supported by the strength of our balance sheet,” Chief Executive Officer Frank van Zanten said, adding that the company completed the acquisition of Intergro at the end of last month to support its agricultural business.

Analysts at Jefferies said Bunzl’s overall growth in underlying revenue was “well ahead” of the consensus.

Shares of the company were up nearly 3% at 2,663 pence in early trading.

Bunzl did not change its margin outlook for the year, cautioning that 2021 continues to reflect pandemic-related dynamics.

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