Quarterly figures published by ITW show that sales of commercial food equipment slipped 4% during the three months to the end of September.
The American manufacturing giant’s latest financial results reveal that revenues from its food equipment group reached $491m (£307m) in the third quarter, compared with $511m (£320m) in the same period a year ago.
Operating income increased massively, though, from $11m (£7m) last year to $93m (£58m), leading the company to report an operating margin of almost 19%.
ITW manufactures cooking, warehouseing, refrigeration and food preparation equipment, counting brands such as Bonnet, Foster, Hobart and Vulcan-Hart among its portfolio.
ITW has interests in a number of industrial sectors, but the fall in food equipment sales was sharper than the decline in business that it saw overall.
Total revenues decreased 1.7% to $4.5 billion (£2.8 billion) during the third quarter as the company admitted that “end markets slowed in a number of international geographies”.
ITW said that its operating income increased, however, climbing almost 7% year-on-year to $763m (£477m).
“From a profitability standpoint, we continued to focus on our differentiated 80/20 business process and, as a result, we produced very strong operating margin gains in the quarter,” commented Scott Santi, president and acting CEO of ITW. “We also continued to return significant levels of cash to our shareholders through our share repurchase and dividend programs.”
The company warned shareholders that with international end markets likely to remain “sluggish” it is expecting full-year revenue growth to be flat or 1% at the most.