Prominent catering equipment business the AFE Group has reason to be satisfied with its latest set of financial results.
The group, which comprises Williams Refrigeration, cooking appliance brand Falcon Foodservice Equipment, Mono Equipment in the bakery sector, and servicing companies, Millers Vanguard and Serviceline, posted £123.5m in revenue for the 12 months to 31 August 2017, 4.5% up on 2016’s total of £118.2m. This represents a positive turnaround from a 0.7% decline for the previous set of results.
According to the strategic report available from Companies House, the principal revenue growth has arisen from the group’s bakery division.
However, operating profit was slightly down, coming in at £13.6m for 2017, a 9% reduction from £15m in 2016. The report analysed: “Increased profit was generated from our bakery division, reflective of the associated turnover growth. FY16 profit reflected the non-recurring insurance claim income of £2,579,000. During FY17, restructure and re-organisation costs have been incurred to reposition the Serviceline business division.”
Overall employee numbers grew from 1,246 to 1,260 across the year.
The directors stated in their report: “With continued mixed market conditions, our various initiatives to improve operational performance and enhance our competitiveness are progressing as planned. Our bakery division achieved pleasing growth, with the remaining brands achieving acceptable turnover levels reflective of the overall market and economic conditions seen.”
Furthermore, export sales increased by 7.1% to £7.9m from 2016’s £7.4m, the growth of which was principally achieved through the bakery division too.
The directors added: “2017 delivered a year of pleasing sales growth despite some caution and changeable market conditions. These market factors continue to impact new order opportunities as customers tighten their spending in the face of economic uncertainties. Despite headwinds we remain optimistic for future sales growth and our focus remains resolutely on delivering new products and unparalleled support to our customers.
“Research and development plays an important role in the development of the company. Product innovation is a key feature of our growth strategy. In a changing marketplace we are adapting our products and business model to be in a position to make the most of new opportunities.
“We have committed substantial resources and capital investment to seize market opportunities and improve our operational performance as well as enhancing our competitiveness. We continue to develop new products that meet the challenging culinary, operational and regulatory needs of our customers. We have also invested heavily to modernise our IT infrastructure.”