Rational bets on upturn after record sales haul

Rational has revealed plans to ramp up its international business on the back of what it sees as a stabilising world economy.

The combi oven manufacturer believes that while IMF predictions of 3% global economic growth have been scaled back in recent months, it remains “ideally placed” to continue growing sales in 2012.

In a letter to shareholders and business partners published today, Rational’s CEO, Gunter Blaschke, said the company’s sound business model, solid financial base and “superior” product range had put it in a strong position.

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“Against this backdrop we plan to gradually expand our international sales and marketing network in 2012 in line with market potential,” he wrote. “Overall we are entering the new year with confidence and we expect to see both sales and operating results grow again accordingly.”

Rational recorded its highest ever turnover in 2011 — EUR392m (£327m) — after growing 32% in Asia, 9% in its native Germany and 10% in the rest of Europe.

Although EBIT fell by EUR4m (£3.3m) to EUR104m (£87m), Blaschke revealed Rational incurred a one-off EUR8m (£7m) charge to convert its entire product portfolio to a series of new lines in the fourth quarter.

The launch of the SelfCookingCentre whitefficiency and the VarioCooking Centre Multiefficiency were major product highlights for the company last year and they have helped it to strengthen its position in the market.

Blaschke also used his letter to reaffirm how the company plans to balance its brand portfolio, which includes multifunction cooking system division FRIMA.

“Due to the fact that we allow Rational and FRIMA to operate in parallel as independent specialists, we are establishing FRIMA as a second strong and innovative world brand with maximum customer benefit,” he said. “From the perspective of long-term business development, two independent brands are worth more than one brand with two products.”

Rational currently employs more than 1,200 staff across the globe and launched its new products to 43 countries last year.

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