Ocado adds to robotics capability with $287 million acquisitions

LONDON (Reuters) – British online supermarket and technology group Ocado said it would buy two robotics companies for a total of $287 million and upgraded its full year earnings outlook on the back of strong trading at its retail joint venture with Marks & Spencer.

Ocado said on Monday it was buying Kindred Systems Inc, an advanced piece-picking robotics company, for about $262 million and Haddington Dynamics Inc, a robotic-arm designer and

manufacturer, for about $25 million.

Although Ocado has only a 1.8% share of Britain’s grocery market, its state-of-the-art technology for robotically operated warehouses has spawned partnerships with supermarket chains around the world, underpinning a stock market valuation of more than 17 billion pounds ($22 billion).

Ocado, whose shares were up 9.3% at 0941 GMT, said the purchases would enhance its robotic capabilities and accelerate the commercial delivery of robotic picking for its clients.

They also provide an opportunity for Ocado to enter new markets for robotic solutions outside of grocery

“That is demonstrated by Kindred Systems’ robust growth, with existing customers such as Gap and American Eagle across the general merchandise and logistics sectors,” said Ocado CEO Tim Steiner.

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