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Ocado Says Morrison Deal Won’t Stop Accords With Other Retailers

May 17 (Bloomberg) -- Ocado Group Plc’s deal to help William Morrison Supermarkets Plc enter the online grocery market won’t prevent the Internet merchant striking similar deals with non-food retailers in the U.K. or international peers, according to Chief Executive Officer Tim Steiner.

“We can do other deals outside of grocery in the U.K., we can do any deal we want outside the U.K.,” Steiner said in an interview today. “We can operate a business with somebody else if we wanted, most importantly we can do this internationally.”

Ocado surged as much as 47 percent to a record in London after unveiling a partnership with Morrison that will boost its coffers by 170 million pounds ($259 million). The deal ties in with Ocado’s long-stated ambition that it is as much a technology company as a grocer and that it can make money by licensing Web shopping technology to other retailers.

For now, Ocado is not in negotiations with other retailers “but we do talk to people a lot,” Steiner said.

The 25-year agreement with Morrison will help assure Ocado’s profitability next year and give the company “net cash on the balance sheet by the end of the year,” said Chief Financial Officer Duncan Tatton-Brown.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gabi Thesing in London at gthesing@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Celeste Perri at cperri@bloomberg.net

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