European woes fail to halt Middleby’s charge

Catering equipment powerhouse Middleby has rode out turbulent market conditions in Europe to record a 5% rise in second quarter sales, excluding the impact of acquisitions.

The company, which owns brands such as CookTek, Lincat and TurboChef, admitted that “difficult” conditions had led to lower sales from its European operations during the three months to the end of June and revealed it wasn’t expecting the situation to change any time soon.

That didn’t prevent it from turning in a strong quarterly performance, however, as worldwide sales reached $260m (£166m) on net earnings up almost 60% year-on-year to $31m (£20m).

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Selim Bassoul, chairman and CEO, said: “In the second quarter, at our Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group, we realised continued growth reflecting increased sales in emerging markets and with chain restaurant customers as they upgrade equipment and adopt new technologies to improve the efficiency of store operations. This growth was offset in part by lower sales in Europe due to difficult market conditions which we anticipate will continue in the near term.”

Bassoul added that the firm’s Food Processing Equipment Group had seen a “modest increase” in sales but predicted this would accelerate in the second half as food producers moved to modernise existing plant operations and invest in overseas processing operations.

Middleby also revealed it had slashed its debt during the quarter to $274m (£175m) compared with $317m (£203m) at the end of last year.

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