Global glass bottle packager Verallia reported a decline in sales.

It said the sales decrease compared to the first quarter of 2020 came against a background of lockdowns and restrictions due to the pandemic.

In its latest financial report, the France-headquartered bottle manufacturer recorded a revenue of €605 million, compared to €645 million in the first quarter of 2020, representing a 6.2% decrease in reported revenue

Organic growth had reached +4.0% in the first quarter of 2020 (vs. Q1 2019), even when the effects of the pandemic began to be felt in mid‐March.

In addition, countries in which the Group operates continue to experience various disruptions due to lockdown measures.

While Verallia’s sales volume in Europe has decreased compared to the previous year, it continues to record a strong performance in Latin America.

Revenue breakdown by region:

In Southern and Western Europe, trends vary from one country to the other, with a more marked decline in sales in France and Iberia compared to Italy, where Verallia has reported almost stable sales.

Operations in France were impacted by social movements until the end of February, when the group completed its transformation plan.

The Northern and Eastern Europe region saw a general decline in sales, affected by lockdown measures and an extremely unfavourable comparative basis.

In Latin America, all countries in the region reported a strong increase in volume over the quarter.

In its outlook it said: “In these uncertain times, Verallia is well‐equipped to match its 2019 volumes in 2021 and generate a positive organic growth. 2021’s adjusted EBITDA is also expected to increase from the previous year to around €650 million, with the adjusted EBITDA margin projected to exceed the medium‐term target of 25%.

“As announced last February, Verallia has decided to build an additional furnace at its plant in Jacutinga (Brazil). This new strategic investment, totalling approximately €60 million, will be spread across 2021 and 2022.”