Hobart and Foster parent reports 4% rise in sales of kitchen equipment

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Illinois Tool Works (ITW), the parent company of brands such as Hobart, Foster and Avery Berkel, said it had seen “solid demand” for catering equipment over the past quarter as conditions in the global foodservice market improve.

The US-based group, which operates a variety of businesses, revealed that sales of foodservice appliances, such as ovens and refrigeration, had grown 4% year-on-year in the three months to the end of March.

It did not give a breakdown of revenue figures, but did indicate that “continued strength” in North America was one of the drivers of the organic sales growth it had seen. It also revealed that its foodservice division achieved an operating margin of 22.6%, an increase of 400 basis points.

Overall, ITW reported sales of $3.34 billion ($2.23 billion) for the quarter, down from $3.56 billion (£2.38 billion) in the same period a year ago. However, CEO Scott Santi pointed to strong earnings per share growth as an encouraging sign that the business is on track to meet its financial goals.

“Despite currency translation headwinds and a challenging capital spending environment, ITW delivered record first quarter operating margin and 20% EPS growth,” he said. “This performance reflects the continued progress that our business teams around the world are making in executing our strategy and leveraging ITW’s highly differentiated business model to its full potential.”

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