SWEDEN: Contributions from the newly acquired UK wholesaler HRP and New Zealand company Realcold boosted Beijer Ref net sales by 8.5% in Q4 of 2016.

The Swedish refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaling group saw sales rise to SEK2,199m (€232m) in the fourth quarter buoyed by a good performance in central Europe.

Key to this was the integration and turnaround of the loss-making HRP following its protracted acquisition last year.

Beijer Ref maintains that the restructuring of HRP is beginning to generate an effect. Although delayed by the Competition & Markets Authority investigation in the UK, the work of integrating HRP was completed during the autumn.

“It is gratifying that we have reversed the development in the newly-acquired company in the United Kingdom. This acquisition now shows positive results,” commented CEO Per Bertland in the latest report.

Commenting on Beijer Ref’s overall performance in the quarter, Bertland revealed that November and December were “especially positive” and expected the trend to continue into the new year.

The signing of the Kigali agreement in October to phase down HFCs is seen as a positive move. “Through our broad offer of eco-friendly alternatives to HFC solutions, the decision provides good opportunities for Beijer Ref in a growing global market,” Bertland said.

Crucial to this could be Beijer Ref’s increasing focus on its manufacturing capabilities. “During the quarter, we continued to expand the range of products manufactured internally and will launch new products during 2017,” he said.

“This operation is now increasing more rapidly than the traditional distribution operation. The OEM investment strengthens our offer in the market towards, among others, food stores. The OEM offer is important in enabling us to meet the increasing demand for eco-friendly solutions which we see in Europe and also increasingly in Australia and New Zealand.”

The company’s annual 2016 report is due to be published in March.