Bunzl plc, the parent company of dealer Lockhart Catering Equipment, has posted its latest financial results, which show continuous growth for the last 26 years.
In the 12 months to 31 December 2018 the whole group generated just over £9bn of revenue, up 6% on the £8.6bn from the previous year.
Operating profit also rose by 2% over that period, from £456m to £466m. However, the group operating margin of 6.8% was down 10 basis points, principally due to decreases in North America and UK and Ireland, partly offset by increases in Continental Europe and the Rest of the World.
While the group doesn’t detail the performance of its individual sectors, it did reveal that the UK and Ireland generated 14% of revenue and 13% of adjusted operating profit.
A committed acquisition spend of £183m in 2018, followed a record year in 2017 (committed spend of £616 million). This included the acquisition of catering equipment distributor Aggora Group in January 2018 and the purchase of Norwegian dealer Enor in July, which brought in a revenue of £27m in 2017.
Frank van Zanten, chief executive of Bunzl, said of the results: “Bunzl has once again delivered another good set of results with adjusted earnings per share up 12% at constant exchange rates. The strength, resilience and reliability of our consistent business model and strategy, together with the compounding effect of our ability to reinvest our strong cash flow to take advantage of market consolidation opportunities, have enabled Bunzl to produce a strong long term performance.
“Looking forward, despite mixed macroeconomic conditions, with an active pipeline of acquisition opportunities we believe that the prospects of the group are positive due to its strong market position and well established and successful strategy to grow the business both organically and by acquisition.”
Of the catering segment he added: “Despite challenging conditions within the restaurant sector, our catering supplies businesses have grown sales during 2018. We have continued to invest in innovation in terms of new products to provide more variety and choice in the preparation and presentation of food.
“In addition, by providing data driven insights we have been able to help our customers with greater clarity and visibility on both consumption, conformity and control which enables them to maximise the use of their assets. We have also further developed our comprehensive range of sustainable product alternatives to satisfy the growing need for choice in this area while at the same time providing our customers with much needed expert advice on product selection.
“The Aggora business, which was acquired in January 2018, has further enhanced our proposition by adding a valuable suite of services for our customers including full servicing of catering equipment and asset tagging capabilities that provide them with invaluable management information through a custom-built database.
“The business has integrated well and a number of cross selling opportunities, involving the delivery of an attractive bundle of products and services to existing customers, have been identified with several already actioned.”