Acquisitions drive Lockhart parent company growth

Bunzl’s acquisitions, including that of distributor Aggora, have boosted its first half 2018 results.

Lockhart Catering Equipment’s parent company Bunzl has reported its results for the first half of 2018, and they look to be positive reading for the acquisitive international distribution and services group.

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Revenue is up 5% on the same 6 month period last year, to £4.3bn from £4.1bn, while adjusted operating profit (before customer relationships amortisation and acquisition-related items) has also risen by 5% to £285m from £248m.

While the group doesn’t specifically record earnings from its catering and hospitality division, the half year report does state there is: “Growth in hospitality from existing customers and the acquisition of Aggora.”

The Aggora acquisition was finalised in January this year, adding an annual revenue of approximately £27m to the group. Bunzl has acquired four other businesses this year too, including a recently-announced buyout of Norwegian catering equipment dealer Enor AS, the group’s first foray into the country.

Furthermore, this April, Bunzl Lockhart launched a wholesale arm to enable other dealers to purchase from 17 own-brand ranges covering tableware, glassware, cutlery, chefs’ clothing, cooking appliances and refrigeration, as well as a selection of back of house products. Collectively these represent over 2,000 individual product lines.

The half year report does break down the financial figures geographically however, with UK and Ireland generating 14% of revenue (around £608m) and 13% of adjusted operating profit (£37m). It stated the UK had brought: “Strong organic revenue growth with operating margin impacted by a challenging market.”

Frank van Zanten, chief executive of Bunzl, said: “Bunzl has delivered another good set of results with double digit increases at constant exchange rates in revenue, adjusted operating profit and adjusted earnings per share. I am particularly pleased to report a further improvement in the level of organic revenue growth to 5.2% during the first half of 2018.

“Looking forward to the rest of the year, the board is confident that the prospects for the group are positive and that the company will continue to develop the business and build shareholder value through a combination of organic growth and further acquisitions as the year progresses.”

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