SWEDEN: Wholesaler Beijer Ref has recorded its strongest ever performance with a 10% increase in sales and a 20% increase in operating profit in the second quarter of 2017.

Figures released today reveal that sales by the refrigeration and air conditioning equipment wholesaler amounted to SEK2,657m (€278.7m) in Q2. Operating profit was SEK223m (€23.4m)

Despite a slightly weaker start to April, the second quarter of 2017 ended up being the strongest quarter in Beijer Ref’s history.

“We had double-digit growth in both sales and profit and saw growth in both geographical segments and our product segments,” reported Beijer Ref CEO Per Bertland.

A combination of increased air conditioning sales – buoyed by a warm spring in southern Europe – and a dramatic increase in the price of HFCs are said to be two of the reasons behind the growth.

“The recently initiated phasing-out of HFC refrigerants means a faster switchover to greener alternatives, both natural and synthetic,” said Bertland. Describing this as “a step in the right direction”, he said he expects a corresponding increase in demand in non-European markets.

Strong, double-digit growth was reported for both its OEM and HVAC sectors. Growth in commercial cooling, although positive, was at at a slower rate.

Warm weather in France boosted sales in the Group’s biggest market and excellent growth was also reported in the Netherlands and the UK and Ireland.

“In the UK/Ireland we have seen major commercial effects of our integration work after the acquisition of HRP,” said Per Bertland. “Our concentration on factors such as back office and logistics has produced good results in terms of costs, while we are also seeing sales growth.”

Asia Pacific recorded stable growth and an organic increase in profit, while restructuring operations in Australia are said to have begun to have an impact on costs.

Africa experienced weak growth for the second quarter in a row but Bertland insists that this is a temporary decline. Mentioning the recent supply of its first transcritical CO2 solution to South Africa, Bertrand said: “We estimate that there are good opportunities to expand sales of environmentally friendly CO2 solutions on the African market as well in the long term.”