Beijer-hq-MalmoSWEDEN: Buoyed by increasing first quarter sales, Europe’s largest refrigeration wholesaler G&L Beijer is to propose a change of name at tomorrow’s shareholders’ agm in Malmo.

Following the publication of its annual report, shareholders at tomorrow’s meeting will hear how strong growth in the UK and Ireland are key elements of a “positive” first quarter for the group. Attendees will also be able to vote on a proposal to change the company’s name to Beijer Ref AB.

The company has been named G & L Beijer after its founders, the brothers Gottfried and Lorens Beijer, since its formation in 1878. However, with refrigeration and air-conditioning wholesaling now its primary operation, the new name  has been chosen to reflect this.

The company has been buoyed by net sales in the first quarter of this year up 8% to SEK1,581m (€173.88m) on the first quarter of 2013. Operating profit was even more impressive, up over 46% to SEK71.3m (€7.84m). Although sales were down 2.4% and operating profit down 3.24% in 2013, the improvement is seen as encouraging but G&L Beijer says it recognises that there is still some way to go to reach the levels of 2011 and 2012.

The UK and Ireland, where its subsidiaries Dean & Wood and UR Refrigeration Wholesale operate, are singled out as markets to celebrate with strong growth. Spain and Italy are also said to have shown a positive trend coinciding with warm spring weather. Comfort cooling, which accounts for approximately 30% of Beijer Ref’s sales, reported particularly strong growth.