Ocado sees deal opportunities in Europe, Asia, Australia

FILE PHOTO: A worker cleans returned shopping baskets at the Ocado CFC (Customer Fulfilment Centre) in Andover, Britain May 1, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls/File Photo

BARCELONA (Reuters) - Ocado OCDO.L, the online supermarket providing technology to U.S retailer Kroger, sees opportunities to strike more deals with established grocers in Europe, Asia and South America, and could move into other categories in retail and beyond.

Chief Financial officer Duncan Tatton-Brown said the British company was focusing on new territories in Europe as well as markets such as Japan, South Korea and Australia.

“There’s some attractive opportunities on top of the ability to sell more capacity to existing clients,” he said at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecoms conference in Barcelona on Thursday.

“The sales teams are a reasonable size and they are reasonably busy.”

Ocado agreed to supply 20 high-tech distribution centers to Kroger KR.N earlier this year.

The size of the deal exceeded all of the warehouses it has built or plans to build with Wm Morrison in Britain, Casino in France, Sobeys in Canada and ICA Group in Sweden.

Asked if Ocado could take its technology into new sectors, Tatton-Brown said the company was ambitious but it had to be careful it was not distracted from the job in hand.

“The way we have gone about that is we’ve effectively split up our teams, and of a team of call it 1,200, 50 of them are now in a separate unit which is focused on future innovation,” he said.

“Future innovation includes: how do we use the technologies, the capabilities that we’ve developed, in other areas. There could well be other uses in grocery, other uses in retail and frankly could well be in sectors well away from retail.”

Reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle