Foodservice Equipment Reports

Growth Of Public E&S Companies Slows In Fourth Quarter

After posting strong growth in blended revenues through most of 2011, seven large equipment and supplies companies saw their sales growth slow in the fourth quarter last year. Combined sales rose 3.1% in the quarter, versus the prior year quarter, down markedly from the 8.5% growth of the second quarter and 7.5% increase in the third. For the year as a whole, blended revenues were up 8.3%, with equipment companies growing blended sales 10.2% and supplies-oriented companies up 1.1%. As a group, the seven companies’ blended sales totaled nearly $3.5 billion in ’11, up from $3.2 billion in ’10.

The five equipment-oriented companies saw combined sales grow 4%, as four of the five companies reported gains for the quarter. All experienced good growth for the year. Middleby led the group, with a very strong 18.3% increase for the quarter, which it credited to chain and new technology roll-outs and strong international growth. Hobart Foodservice in North America saw an estimated quarterly gain of 5.5%, thanks in part to modest growth in casual dining chains. Standex Foodservice saw a 4.3% gain, with upticks in both cooking and refrigeration products. Manitowoc Foodservice was up 2.2%, thanks to new product introductions and balanced growth across regions. Rational Americas saw sales plummet 57.2%, as the company restructures its rep force.

On the supplies side, Libbey grew fourth-quarter sales 2% while Carlisle Foodservice was off 4.9%. Libbey reported slowing sales of glassware and dinnerware. The loss of Traex volume was also a factor. Carlisle noted an unfavorable mix of product sales as a factor in their decline. The company also said increased raw materials prices are hurting profits. Combined sales for the two companies fell 0.4% in the quarter.

For the year, Middleby grew foodservice sales 22%, Standex was up 8.9% Manitowoc 6.8%, Rational Americas 6.1% and Hobart an estimated 4.9%. As has been true through the recovery, chain-oriented companies have grown fastest. Libbey saw a 2.4% gain for the year, while Carlisle was off 1.3%.

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