Rational has lamented the impact of a weaker pound on its first-half sales and profits, but says the situation has steadily improved over the past three months.

The combi oven maker grew six-monthly sales by an impressive 9% year-on-year to €283m (£237m) but was left frustrated by exchange rate translations.

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“Sales revenues were negatively impacted by the weakness of the pound sterling and of currencies in emerging countries,” said Dr Axel Kaufmann, CFO of Rational. “However, the resulting effect was less in the second quarter. After exchange rate adjustments, the increase in sales revenues was around 11% compared to the first six months of 2015.”

EBIT remained stable at almost €74m (£62m) for the period, but Rational said translation effects on its foreign currency positions in other operating expenses and income had a negative impact on the figure following a significant positive impact the previous year. That was due in particular to the decline of the pound sterling against the euro.

“Adjusted for this measurement effect, we generated an EBIT margin of 27% in both the first half of 2016 and 2015. Our company’s operating efficiency therefore remains high,” added Mr Kaufmann.

Sales in Rational’s home market of Germany grew 14% due to further market penetration and greater use of the combi steamer by new customer groups, as well as the positive development of its multifunctional cooking equipment business Frima.

Revenues in the rest of Europe increased by 11% after exchange rate adjustments, in particular thanks to a slight recovery in the Russian market and a strong performance from Frima in France.

The Americas region saw an increase in sales of 19% after exchange rate adjustments, with the USA market delivering a notable 18% rise in business. Sales in Asia crept up just 3%, but that was largely due to a high comparative base rate last year.

Overall Rational sales in the first half increased 7% or 10% after adjustment to reflect negative currency effects, while Frima grew 27%. Currency effects played a minor role at Frima because its business focuses on Europe.