SWEDEN: Beijer Ref, the world’s third largest air conditioning and refrigeration wholesaler is actively seeking further acquisitions following clearance of its takeover of HRP.
Despite something of a lull created by the protracted acquisition of UK wholesaler HRP, the Swedish wholesaler is now back on the acquisition trail.
Beijer Ref’s announcement of its purchase of HRP in November last year was stalled when the deal was referred to the UK’s Competition & Markets Authority (CMA) in February. The take-over was finally approved last month.
“The resource-demanding CMA process had the effect that our other acquisition work slowed down during the period,” commented Beijer Ref CEO Per Bertland. “However, we are now intensifying the work of identifying potential acquisitions in both new and existing markets.”
He confirmed that the restructuring of HRP would now continue “in accordance with the plan”.
The comments were made as Beijer Ref announced a 12.3% second quarter sales increase, the group’s strongest quarter so far.
The increase to SEK2,417m (€255m) was mainly attributed to increased air conditioning sales in Southern Europe. Net profit for the period increased to SEK121m (€12.8m).
“Markets which reported a weaker start to the year are beginning to gain speed and we continue to see a positive development, especially for sales of air conditioning,” said Per Bertland.
Southern Europe saw organic growth of 18% compared with the second quarter of 2015. Sales in Spain and Italy performed well and France was also said to be enjoying a stable trend. Germany also improved on a positive first quarter.
Sales of air conditioning increased by 40% compared with the second quarter of 2015.
“A large proportion of the sales increase is explained by increased demand for air conditioning. Toshiba, especially, but also other brands, contributed to the increase where the Southern Europe region remains the engine,” Per Bertrand said.
“We are continuing our work of developing our offer relating to eco-friendly and energy-efficient systems. The interest for these solutions is considerable, not least in Australia and New Zealand where this technology is still not established to the same degree as in the more mature European markets.”
Describing the UK as an important market, Bertland saw the UK’s decision to pull out of the EU having limited effect on its operations.
“We are keeping ourselves continually updated ahead of Brexit. Our operation in the United Kingdom mainly consists of commercial refrigeration, with an emphasis on the food sector. It is a long-term stable market and our current evaluation is, therefore, that Brexit will have a limited influence on our operation.”