Public E&S Companies Sales Surge In Fourth Quarter
After more than a year of lackluster and even negative sales trends, eight publicly reporting equipment and supplies companies reported combined revenue advanced 6.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared with the same quarter last year. Still, sales for the year as a whole rose only 2.2%, slower growth than 2015’s 3.3% combined gain and 5.5% growth in 2014. The eight companies represent total sales of nearly $4.3 billion.
A slowdown in chain same-store sales slowed equipment purchases in 2016 for several of the companies, while unfavorable currency transactions affected results from overseas sales. Restructuring and divestitures have also affected results for Manitowoc, now Welbilt, the largest of the companies, and Standex Foodservice.
The six equipment-oriented companies posted combined growth of 6.5%, significantly improved from a 0.4% decline in the third quarter. For the year, combined sales were up 2.1%. This compares with an increase of 3.2% last year.
Middleby Foodservice said sales rose 20.1% as the effect of its recent acquisition of Follett was included. The company said organic growth was 4.8%. ITW FEG posted a 9.2% gain at its North American equipment companies. Worldwide growth was 2.8% as unfavorable currency trends pushed down growth of sales outside North America. Rational Americas, which has been benefiting from a reorganization, posted a 14.2% gain and saw sales grow 27% for the year. The company said it shipped 6,000 units from its North American distribution center in 2016.
Standex, after several quarters of negative numbers, saw sales rise 1.5% 4Q. The company continues to be affected by slowing sales to retail customers and has also been rationalizing product lines. Unified Brands saw an estimated 2.5% gain.
The two public supplies-oriented companies saw a combined sales increase of 3.6% 4Q and were up 2.7% for the year as a whole. Last year, the two companies’ combined sales rose 3.5%. Libby’s sales rose 3.8% 4Q despite slower retail and business-to-business sales, while Carlisle Foodservice said revenues increased 3.3%.