Seafood processing equipment maker and software supplier Marel said moves to target higher retail demand amid the coronavirus health crisis may lead processing plants to increase production of pre-packed portions and other value-added products.

"While families take shelter at home, the demand from retail stores and online platforms has skyrocketed. At the same time, foodservice demand from hotel and restaurants is significantly down," Marel CEO Arni Oddur Thordarson noted.

The company reported in its first quarter that customers began shifting orders to accommodate a move in seafood toward frozen and processed items as consumers began eating more in-home.

Marel's first quarter numbers were "colored by the pandemic," with earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) declining to €25.4 million ($27.6 million). Revenues for the period ended March 31 came in at €301.6 million ($327.6 million), down close to 7 percent.

First quarter orders reached €351.8 million ($382.1 million), 9 percent higher than a year earlier. This left the company's order book standing at €464.6 million ($504.6 million).

Marel is classified as a "critical infrastructure company" in the food industry. All of its manufacturing sites are open although not all of them are at full capacity.

During the quarter, Gudbjorg Heida Gudmundsdottir took over from Sigurdur Olason as the executive vice president of Marel Fish.

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