Welbilt’s operations in EMEA and APAC helped deliver a 7% increase in sales during the first quarter of the year as the manufacturer struggled for growth in its native US market and ended the period with a loss.
The rise in revenue, from $350.4m (£269.5m) to $375.3m (£288.7m) year-on-year for the three months to 31 March was driven by strong results in EMEA, where organic net sales increased across multiple product lines including Merrychef, Frymaster, Garland, Convotherm, Multiplex and KitchenCare.
Welbilt’s performance this side of the pond made up for a tricky quarter in the US, where it faced tough comparable sales from large chain roll-outs in the same period a year ago.
After racking up net losses of $2.6m (£2m) for the quarter, compared with a $12.4m (£9.5m) profit a year ago, the company revealed it had launched a “business transformation programme” with a comprehensive operational review to validate its long-term growth and margin targets and to refine its execution plans.
The initiative will focus on specific areas of opportunity including strategic sourcing, manufacturing facility workflow redesign, distribution and administrative process efficiencies and optimising its global brand platforms, the company said.
Welbilt incurred $5.8m (£4.5m) during the quarter in connection with the review and expects to face additional costs through mid-2021 as it implements various elements of the Transformation Programme.
Bill Johnson, president and CEO at Welbilt, said: “We reiterated our 2019 full-year guidance today. We have good top-line momentum following five consecutive quarters of solid organic growth. The Transformation Program’s operational review we just concluded gives us confidence in our ability to deliver the 2019 adjusted operating EBITDA margin guidance and to execute the detailed plans to drive profitable growth going forward.”
Welbilt said it will provide more details about its plans to investors this week.