Foster and Hobart owner grows quarterly equipment sales by 2% to £370m

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The parent company of industry titans Hobart and Foster said this week that its global foodservice business was in good shape after closing its financial fourth quarter.

ITW, which owns a string of equipment manufacturing businesses, including Avery Berkel and Traulsen, said that organic sales of foodservice equipment had grown 2% during the three months to the end of December 2015.

It pulled in sales of $538m (£372m) for the quarter, taking the size of its foodservice equipment business to $2 billion (£1.4 billion) a year. Foodservice equipment accounts for around 15% of ITW’s business.

The company said that the growth came against a “challenging prior year comparison”, with solid growth in international equipment and North America service.

Operating margins for the foodservice equipment increased 220 basis points to 23.9%.

The growth in foodservice sales was a bright spot for ITW given that overall company revenues of $3.3 billion (£2.3 billion) declined 0.6% in the fourth quarter due to its ongoing Product Line Simplification activities.

However, E. Scott Santi, chairman and CEO of ITW, said he was pleased with ITW’s “strong performance in the quarter and for the year”.

He commented: “In the quarter, the company continued to deliver meaningful improvement in our EPS, operating margin, and return on invested capital metrics, and demand across our business portfolio held steady versus the third quarter.”

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