July 21 (Reuters) - A year after the COVID-19 pandemic overwhelmed corporate America, the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus poses new challenges, but U.S. companies don't expect a big impact. The more contagious Delta variant was first detected in India earlier this year and has since become the dominant strain in the United States and several other countries. But last year's challenges including rising costs, strict government restrictions and remote work have prepared many companies to better tackle the situation. Here's what companies said about the Delta variant's impact on their businesses: Company Comments Anthem Inc CEO Gail Boudreaux said the company was "very prudent about what's going to happen with the Delta variant," and any potential impact was part of the forecast. Anthem raised its annual profit forecast. Apple Inc The tech giant will delay the return of its employees to office by at least a month to October at the earliest, according to media reports. Baker Hughes The oilfield service company said it does not Co expect new variants to slow down oil recovery. ".. we expect spending and activity levels to gain momentum through the year as the macro environment improves, likely setting up the industry for stronger growth in 2022," CEO Lorenzo Simonelli said. Coca-Cola Co The soda maker said it was "well-equipped" to manage a potential hit from the Delta variant. Chipotle CEO Brian Niccol said challenges related to Mexican Grill COVID-19 remained, including uncertainty Inc regarding the impact of the Delta variant. However, he said Chipotle was up to the "challenge and we're hopeful that we'll gradually see a more stable environment over time." Costco Costco reinstated specific shopping hours for Wholesale customers aged 60 and older, just weeks after Corp scrapping the rule first put in place in March last year. Goldman Sachs The firm warned that the Delta variant and Group Inc uneven vaccination rates create uncertainty for macro markets. (Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)
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