Upper Crust Owner Records Loss For Six Month Period That Ended On March 31
Upper Crust owner SSP has recorded a loss for the six month period that ended on March 31.
The company recorded an underlying loss before tax of 182 million for the six month period that ended on March 31, compared with a loss of £10.7 million pound a year earlier.
SSP has said that a recovery in its airport and railway station snack food outlets has begun, after the £182 million first half loss.
SSP, which operates in 35 countries, has racked up more than £600 million in losses since the start of the COVID-19 crisis and raised £450 million in a rights issue in April in order to see itself through the crisis.
Chief Executive Statements
But its chief executive, Simon Smith, said that there are signs of a bounceback as Europe eases lockdown restrictions, although London-based SSP warned that it does not expect like-for-like revenue to return to "around pre-COVID levels" until 2024.
"The recovery in domestic and leisure travel has now begun in a number of our territories, and our teams are busy re-opening units in line with passenger demand," Smith said.
Like other travel and hospitality firms, SSP was badly hit by the pandemic through 2020, shutting approximately 2,500 outlets and furloughing more than 22,000 staff at the peak of the crisis.
After more than a year in the doldrums, however, demand for air and rail travel is expected to increase in the months ahead, particularly in the leisure segment, as vaccinations gain pace and countries ease restrictions for inoculated travellers.
Auditor Report Warning
Although Smith said that there are signs of improvement, SSP said that while the report of its auditors on its last full-year results was unqualified, it contained a warning of "a material uncertainty that may cast significant doubt on the Group's and its parent company's ability to continue as a going concern."
"Much Better Place"
JP Morgan analysts, who have an "overweight" rating on SSP, said that it is in a "much better place" having extended bank debt maturities and waivers to 2024.