Food group Greencore has raised about £90m from the placing of over 80 million new shares in an effort to protect and support growth in the business. 

Greencore said the placing price of 112 pence represents a discount of 5.7% to its closing share price of 118.8 pence on November 23. 

The new shares represent about 18% of the existing issued ordinary share capital of Greencore.

Publishing its results a day ahead of schedule yesterday, Greencore said its adjusted profit before tax from continuing operations for the 12 months ended September 25 slumped by 87% to £17.3m from £92.3m a year earlier. 

Revenue fell nearly 13% to £1.27 billion, with Greencore saying its results were impacted by the UK national lockdown in the second half of the fiscal year.

"Demand for our food to go categories will recover strongly as the effect of Covid-19 recedes, and were encouraged by the uplift in demand that we saw in Q4 as the UK economy slowly reopened," Greencore said in its results statement.

It said the share placing will enable the company to proactively manage debt levels to ensure appropriate liquidity and leverage headroom.

"This has been an exceptionally challenging year for Greencore," CEO Patrick Coveney said in the company's results statement yesterday.

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"There is a direct correlation between the performance of food to go and the nation's ability to move around freely. As a result, that part of our business has been significantly impacted by the social restrictions that have been put in place as a result of Covid-19," he added.

But the Greencore CEO said the group remained confident that demand for food to go categories would recover strongly as the effect of Covid-19 recedes. 

On Brexit, Patrick Coveney said that Greencore continues to monitor closely its potential implications on the business, including any potential changes to prospective demand, the supply chain and the availability and cost of labour. 

He said that detailed contingency planning is in place to mitigate these challenges, adding that Greencore continues to believe that the risks from Brexit are manageable in the medium term, while acknowledging potential near-term challenges associated with a disorderly exit. 

Shares in the company were over 3% higher in London trade today.