Welbilt CEO Hubertus Mühlhäuser set out some ambitious plans for the cooking equipment manufacturer during a press meeting at the Host trade show in Milan towards the end of October.
Commenting that the firm would like to grow at a faster rate than the market, today Welbilt globally turns over $1.5bn, with 70% of that coming from the Americas, 20% in Europe and 10% from Asia.
“We think there should be more of a balance between the three regions. Therefore we want to put our capital back into the business and we would like to acquire companies,” Mühlhäuser revealed. When pressed for further details about which segments any buyouts would come from, he pointed to partnering in the ice and beverage machines businesses in Europe.
He analysed: “We feel we are already the leader on the innovation side, but we also want to become the sales leader. When we spun off from Manitowoc our EBITDA was 15% and we challenged ourselves to improve our profitability to 25%. Our prediction this year is we are landing somewhere between 18.5-20%.”
In terms of the UK market he warned: “I’m really concerned about Brexit in the UK, it’s not going to be a high growth market and could even shrink. We have benefitted tremendously this year from large rollouts of Merrychef ovens in thousands of restaurants so we are still growing, despite the market being down. But for next year the UK outlook is difficult.”
Welbilt used the Host show to launch several new products into the European market, including the Multiplex brand’s ALBI 4 compact soft drinks and juice dispenser and N2Fusion nitrogenated cold brew coffee. For the Garland cooking equipment brand, the manufacturer showcased its revamped Master Series Xpress clam shell grills, plus the results of integrating Inducs induction technology (a company which Welbilt bought out in 2013) into all Garland ranges.