Strong growth in the Asia Pacific saw sales rise 7.3 per cent for refrigeration wholesaler, Beijer Ref, in the first quarter of the year.
Sales topped €370m ($A575.9 million) in the first quarter of this year.
The operating profit for the quarter rose 33 per cent to €26m ($A40.4 million), while the operating margin increased to seven per cent from 5.7 per cent in the same quarter last year. EBITDA amounted to €37m ($A57.5 million), compared to €30m ($A46.6 million) in 2020.
Beijer Ref CEO Per Bertland pointed to organic growth in the quarter of 7.3 per cent describing it as a “statement of strength”, as several of the company’s markets are still partially closed.
“My assessment is that there is a pent-up need for our products on the market and that in the coming quarters there will be an increased demand for repair and maintenance work which has not been performed, provided that the restrictions are gradually lifted and we move towards normalisation,” he said.
The strongest growth was in Southern Europe which had organic sales growth of 17 per cent and the Asia Pacific which reported a strong quarter with organic growth of 10 per cent. HVAC accounted for the largest sales increase with organic growth of 15 per cent in the quarter.
Beijer Ref’s manufacturing activities showed double-digit-growth during the period. The company’s new production facility in Padua, Italy, produced its first units and the group’s total OEM capacity for sustainable production has now doubled.
The Q1 figures were also helped by a stabilisation in refrigerant prices. “After ten quarters of falling purchase prices for refrigerants, which has had a sharp negative impact on earnings, the trend is that prices have started to rise, which means that the impact on earnings in the first quarter is marginal,” Bertland said.
He also revealed that the company continues to explore potential acquisitions in both existing and new markets.
The company’s online sales continue to grow, accounting for approximately nine per cent of sales during the first quarter. “I am optimistic about achieving our long-term goal of e-commerce making up at least 20 per cent of our total sales by 2023,” Bertland said.