March 3, 2020 / 7:39 AM / a month ago

UPDATE 1-HelloFresh sees continued growth in 2020 on U.S. strength

(Adds forecast details and company background)

March 3 (Reuters) - German meal-kit delivery firm HelloFresh on Tuesday forecast growth in 2020 revenue and core profit and confirmed better-than-expected 2019 results, benefiting from strength in the United States and other international markets.

The Berlin-based company posted its first annual adjusted core earnings in a preliminary report from January, marking a milestone for an industry which has grown substantially in recent years but found profits elusive.

HelloFresh, which delivers pre-portioned meal ingredients with recipes to its subscribers, expects 2020 revenue growth of 22% to 27% on a constant currency basis on the back of U.S. strength. The United States accounted for 57% of HelloFresh's annual sales in 2019.

Founded in 2011, HelloFresh has grown rapidly in the United States, outperforming rival Blue Apron, which said in February it was considering going private after a fall in its full-year revenue.

HelloFresh's U.S. division turned a profit for the third consecutive quarter in September, helping the company to reach net income break-even for the first time after its initial public offering in 2017.

Shares in HelloFresh rose over 200% in 2019, outperforming Germany's midcap index seven-fold.

The company, whose other markets include Britain, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands, said its adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization margin should reach 4.0% to 5.5% in 2020. It reported an adjusted EBITDA margin of 2.9% for 2019. (Reporting by Zuzanna Szymanska in Gdansk; Editing by Kim Coghill and Maju Samuel)

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