Commercial supply distributor Bunzl on Tuesday reported labor shortages in its major markets, including the United States and Britain, and said it was also facing product shortages it delivers to the grocery and hospitality sectors.
Shares of UK group FTSE 100, which supplies everyday items such as disposable tableware, food packaging, latex gloves and stationery to business customers, were down 2.5% at 07.46 GMT .
Several UK companies, including McDonald’s and Greggs, have been hit by supply chain disruptions linked to the pandemic, including delivery delays and a shortage of staff and truck drivers crippling the distribution and availability of products .
Bunzl, which also supplies products ranging from counter service packaging and cleaning chemicals to the retail and hospitality sectors, said it was seeing material shortages in its areas of the hospitality industry. catering and consumables as demand suddenly surged after coronavirus lockdowns were eased, called for catch-up production.
“So far (the labor shortage is) not extreme and because we are also seeing product inflation in some areas and really focusing on efficiency (also) we have could mitigate that in a good way, but it could be a bit more, there in the second half of the year, “Managing Director Frank van Zanten told Reuters.
He expects labor shortages to ease as temporary unemployment benefits introduced during the pandemic are expected to end in the United States.
First half performance
Bunzl announced a 17.5% increase in its first-half adjusted profit before tax to 338.4 million pounds sterling ($ 466.92 million) and increased its dividend by 2.5%, helped by a recovery demand as businesses such as offices, hotels and restaurants reopen.
The company said wage inflation and delivery costs in the first half of the year were offset by inflation in COVID-19-related products such as disposable gloves. However, he said articles related to COVID-19 were starting to experience price deflation in the second quarter.
The company, known for having concluded several targeted transactions, also announced on Tuesday two new acquisitions of security equipment distributors in Spain.