Online grocer Ocado is hoping to agree an international tie-up before the end of the year after posting a hike in half-year profits.
The company, which delivers goods for both Waitrose and Morrisons, has seen its shares rise by 30 per cent over the last three months amid increasing speculation over a long-awaited deal to sell its technology to overseas retailers.
Chief executive Tim Steiner said Ocado was “excited by the possibility” of an international agreement, and the firm has set itself the target of signing a deal this year.
Half-year figures showed underlying earnings rose 11.4 per cent to £38.2 million in the 24 weeks to 17 May, on revenues 18.2 per cent higher at £507.7m.
Steiner said the wider grocery market was hit by “intense” competition on prices, but added: “The resilience of our business model and increasing operational leverage also mean that we have grown operating profit despite these industry headwinds.”