Rational reports fall in UK revenues but still smashes global sales record

Grazing kitchen Rational combi ovens

Rational has shrugged off revenue declines in a handful of markets, including the UK, to register record-breaking full-year sales of €613m (£530m).

The Germany-based outfit, which accounts for every one in two combi ovens sold globally, has a remarkable track record of growth and maintained its performance last year despite encountering difficult economic conditions.

Overall business at the firm was up 9% in value terms and 11% without taking the impact of currency fluctuations into consideration.

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Rational’s ability to expand its global distribution network meant that high growth in a number of markets helped to offset declines in the UK, Turkey, Russia and Africa.

In its annual report, published yesterday, Rational said: “In the UK, the significant fall in the value of pound sterling as a result of the country’s vote to leave the European Union had a negative effect on our sales revenue performance.”

Rational doesn’t break out revenues by country, but figures publicly available from Companies House show that Rational’s turnover in the UK amounted to £49.5m for the year to 31 December 2015. UK accounts for fiscal 2016 are likely to be filed with Companies House between June and September this year.

According to the group report published yesterday, Rational generated just over 40% of its sales in foreign currency in 2016. The US dollar (12%) and pound sterling (10%) were the most significant currencies apart from the euro. On average the euro was significantly stronger year-on-year against the currencies relevant to it and this resulted in a decline in sales. Adjusted for currency effects, sales grew 11%.

The company highlighted the USA, Germany and France as among its strongest performing territories.

Rational combi ovens
Some 350,000 kitchens globally use Rational’s flagship SelfCookingCentre, according to the company.

Rational’s EBIT increased slightly to €166m (£530m) and although EBIT margin shrank one percentage point to 27%, the company said it was down to investments made in rolling out new products, improving infrastructure at its Landsberg HQ and strengthening central marketing and service processes. Its first ever compact combi, the XS, was launched during the year, and it also introduced new Frima appliances.

Rational revealed that some 350,000 kitchens globally are now using its flagship SelfCookingCentre, with 120 million meals prepared daily by the equipment.

The company has also expanded its development team and transferred it to a new wholly-owned subsidiary that it set up last year. More than €31m (£27m) has been spent developiing new products last year.

In terms of future technological developments, Rational and Frima have more than 500 intellectual property rights and patents filed.

“We will, of course, do everything in our power to further consolidate our leadership in the area of innovation and maintain a high level of customer satisfaction by making targeted investments in our innovation and global sales capabilities. We believe therefore that we can continue our successful growth policy for sales revenues and profit in 2017.”


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Andrew Seymour

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