4. RATIONAL UK LIMITED

Rational has always provided a fascinating case study in the sense that its revenue is traditionally derived from a single brand and product line.

The popularity of its combi ovens led to sales climbing 15% to nearly £58m last year.

With both the public and private sectors showing equal growth, and the launch of its compact SelfCookingCentre helping to open the door to cafes and coffee houses, the company’s UK operation kept its Landsberg am Lech factory busy.

The performance of sister company Frima has to be taken into account when assessing the scale of Rational’s UK expansion in 2017.

It accounted for 6% of the sales growth after the trade and assets were acquired by Rational, which subsequently rebadged its flagship multifunctional cooking system to bring unity to the business.

The integration of the Frima operation led to a 40% hike in operating costs, largely due to the extra headcount and support functions within the organisation.

Meanwhile, further infrastructure investment saw Rational’s Luton head office revamped as it made space for two development kitchens, dedicated training facilities and larger office areas.

Operating profit margin tumbled from 4.3% to 3.7% as a result of higher expenditure and investment. Directors at the company cite project and chain business as the most likely future growth drivers.

2017 Vital Statistics

Turnover: £57.98m (+15%)
Operating profit: £2.14m (-2%)
Employees: 68 (54)
Ownership: The immediate and ultimate parent undertaking is Rational AG, incorporated in Germany.
Financial year end: 31 December

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