Foodservice Equipment Reports

Public E&S Companies Grow 3% In Fourth Quarter But Manage Only 2.2% Gain For Year

Combined revenues for seven publicly reporting foodservice equipment and supplies companies grew 3% in the fourth quarter of 2012. But the overall gain for the calendar year was only 2.2%, as flat sales in the second and third quarters, especially among the equipment-oriented companies, depressed growth. Sales declines in Europe, and to a lesser extent Asia, were factors in the mid-year slump. But the split between chain and spec-market sales continues to be apparent. Overall equipment company sales rose only 1.9% for the year.

The five equipment-oriented companies pushed fourth quarter sales 2.7% higher; equipment company sales declined 0.3% in the third quarter and rose only 0.6% in the second. Individual company results were a mixed bag. Manitowoc Foodservice posted a strong fourth quarter with sales up 6.7%; sales for the year were up only 2.2%, however. Middleby Corp. saw foodservice equipment sales rise 5.4% and recorded an 8.7% rise for the year. Standex Foodservice grew 3.5% for the year, but posted a 0.2% decline in the fourth quarter. ITW’s Food Equipment Group Worldwide, which is the most spec-oriented of the big companies and the most exposed to the weak European market, saw sales fall 1.8% for the quarter and 2.2% for the year. Growth in North America for both the quarter and the year were offset by declines in the rest of the world. Rational North America is expected to post a very strong gain in the fourth quarter March 20 as a restructuring of its North American sales takes effect.

Both supplies-oriented companies had good fourth quarter results, as their combined sales rose 5.1% for the quarter and 4.3% for the year as a whole. Carlisle posted a strong 6.8% gain in the fourth quarter and was up 3.2% for the year. Libbey saw sales rise 4.3% in the quarter and 5% for the year.

The public company results compare with fourth quarter 3.8% sales growth as recorded by the MAFSI Barometer. The average increase for the four quarters of the MAFSI Barometer in 2012 was 3.9%, one of the few times the more broad-based MAFSI numbers outgrew the chain-oriented public companies. The results are also a sign that the U.S. E&S market, while growing only slowly, is in some ways outperforming E&S growth elsewhere in the world.

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