6. WINTERHALTER LTD

Winterhalter has turned its attention to gross margin improvement and curtailing low value business in a bid to return to the black again following a loss-making year in 2017.

Accounts filed with Companies House reveal it suffered an £897,000 operating loss versus a £378,000 profit the year before.

Winterhalter actually achieved an improvement in gross profit of 7% to £6.6m during the period, but higher administrative expenses and a £16,000 loss attributed to ‘fair value movements’ (versus a £1.5m profit for the same item the year before) appeared to be the main factors for the swing.

The Milton Keynes-based outfit certainly continues to enjoy huge scale, as its £28.8m turnover testifies, and aside from Hobart, whose numbers are included in ITW’s accounts and therefore not broken out on an individual basis, it stands out as the largest warewashing equipment supplier on this list.

Directors of the business said they consider the performance in 2017 to be “good in the current economic climate”, with an improvement in gross margin vindicating their decision to replace low margin business with new opportunities yielding better margins.

Investments the company has made in enhancing its offer, notably around connected warewashing systems and the roll-out of new pass-through machines, utensil washers and conveyor washers, are likely to bear fruit in the years to come.

Sister company Classeq reports its accounts separately, but if you were to take its 2017 turnover into account (£16.7m) it would create a combined warewashing business worth some £45m a year, enough to move it up a place on this list.

2017 Vital Statistics
Turnover: £28.81m (-2%)
Operating profit: £897,810 loss (versus a £378,453 profit the year before)
Employees: 138 (132)
Ownership: The ultimate parent company is Karl Winterhalter GmbH & Co. KG, incorporated in Germany.
Financial year end: 31 December

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