Hobart and Foster owner posts record sales

Illinois Tool Works (ITW), which owns a range of leading food service equipment brands including Bonnet, Hobart and Foster, has posted a 6% rise in fourth quarter organic sales.

The company generated sales of $4.3bn (£2.7bn) during the quarter — up 10% on a total basis — helping to book full-year revenues of $17.8bn (£11.2bn), the largest in its 100-year history.

Organic or base revenues grew 6% in Q4, with North American organic revenues increasing almost 9% and international organic revenues growing 3%. Notably, European organic revenues grew 2.6% while its business in the Chinese market expanded 10%.

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ITW said operating income of $647m (£408m) and income from continuing operations of $437m (£276m) represented growth of 34% and 33% respectively.

Food service is one of eight divisions that ITW operates, although it made no reference to the group in its SEC filing when outlining its operating highlights for the quarter, preferring to focus on the gains made by its worldwide welding, transportation and power systems and electronics businesses.

“Our fourth quarter financial performance was a solid effort by the ITW team,” said ITW’s chairman and CEO David Speer. “We produced strong top line growth, solid margin improvement and impressive free operating cash flow. The fourth quarter capped off very strong full-year performance, with 2011 revenues growing 15.4% and organic revenues increasing 7.5%.”

Other food service equipment brands within the ITW portfolio include Avery Berkel, Kairak, MBM, Peerless Group, Traulsen and Vulcan-Hart.

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