Middleby boss hails upturn in market conditions

The Middleby Corporation has revealed it increased its annual sales by 19% to $856m (£544m) last year as the acquisition of companies such as Lincat and Beech helped to swell its top line.

The Illinois-based outfit also improved its annual net earnings by $23m (£15m) to $95m (£60m) as it finished the year on a high with a strong set of Q4 results.

Sales in the final three months of the year rose 17% to $244m (£155m) as the company booked a profit of $35m (£22m) in the same period.

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The company said sales increased by double-digit figures even without the contribution from acquisitions.

Middleby’s Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group, which incorporates Lincat, was the star performer during the latest quarter, with CEO Selim Bassoul heralding an “improvement in industry conditions and increased market penetration” as sales grew 18% annually.

He stated: “Revenue growth reflects sales with chain restaurant customers as they upgrade equipment and adopt new technologies to improve the efficiency of store operations. This segment also continued to realise strong international growth, reflecting increased business in emerging markets and market penetration resulting from the company’s expanded international selling organisation.”

In contrast, Middleby saw revenues from its Food Proeccesing Equipment Group decline 29% in the fourth quarter and 19% in the full-year without acquisitions factored in, which the company attributed to a high number of projects in the previous year that were deferred from 2008 and 2009.

“Despite the sales decline, the incoming order rate during the second half of 2011 was robust, reflecting growing demand from food processors looking to expand and modernise existing plant operations and new customers developing processing operations overseas due to increasing demand for pre-cooked and pre-processed foods in developing markets,” said Bassoul.

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