Greencore shares plunged by as much as 6% after it announced nearly 300 workers at its largest plant in the UK have tested positive for Covid-19.
The Irish consumer foods group is the largest maker of pre-packed sandwiches in the UK and supplies the likes of Tesco, Sainsbury and Marks and Spencer from its Northampton manufacturing facility.
The Northampton site employs 2,100 of Greencore’s 11,000 staff.
A total of 292 positive Covid-19 cases have been discovered among the Northampton workforce, with 79 initially coming to light through NHS tests and a further 213 identified after Greencore appointed a private testing outfit this week.
Greencore is currently in the process of testing everyone at the site as a result of the Northampton area, in general, seeing a surge in positive virus cases of late.
“All of Greencore’s sites have wide-ranging social-distancing measures, stringent hygiene procedures and regular temperature checking in place, and we are doing everything that we can to keep our people safe. As ever, the health and well-being of our colleagues is our number one priority,” Greencore said.
Greencore’s shares have fallen by nearly 40% in the past 12 months. In its recent third quarter trading update – covering the three months to the end of June – the group said revenue had fallen by 34% on a year-on-year basis, with its core food-to-go division seeing a 51% drop due to Covid restrictions on the movement of people.
In its financial year to date, it said revenues were down by nearly 11%.
In a joint statement, Northampton Borough Council and Public Health Northamptonshire said Greencore has “highly effective” measures in place and that the group continues to work “extremely hard” to exceed the requirements needed to be Covid secure in the workplace.