SWEDEN: Refrigeration and air conditioning wholesaler Beijer Ref saw sales rise 7.3% to SEK3,731m (€370m) in the first quarter of this year.
The operating profit for the quarter rose 33% to SEK263m (€26m), while the operating margin increased to 7.0% from 5.7% in the same quarter last year. EBITDA amounted to SEK377m (€37m), compared to SEK309m (€30m) in 2020.
Beijer Ref CEO Per Bertland pointed to organic growth in the quarter of 7.3% as a “statement of strength”, given that several of the company’s markets are still partially closed down.
“My assessment is that there is a pent-up need for our products on the market and that in the coming quarters there will be an increased demand for repair and maintenance work which has not been performed, provided that the restrictions are gradually lifted and we move towards normalisation,” he said.
Southern Europe stood out in the quarter with organic sales growth of 17%. Asia Pacific was also reported to have had a strong quarter with organic growth of 10%. HVAC accounted for the largest sales increase with organic growth of 15% in the quarter.
Beijer Ref’s manufacturing activities showed double-digit-growth during the period. The company’s new production facility in Padua, Italy, produced its first units and the group’s total OEM capacity for sustainable production has now doubled.
The Q1 figures were helped by a stabilisation in refrigerant prices. “After ten quarters of falling purchase prices for refrigerants, which has had a sharp negative impact on earnings, the trend is that prices have started to rise, which means that the impact on earnings in the first quarter is marginal,” Bertland said.
He also revealed that the company continues to explore potential acquisitions in both existing and new markets.
The company’s online sales continue to grow, accounting for approximately 9% of sales during the first quarter. “I am optimistic about achieving our long-term goal of e-commerce making up at least 20% of our total sales by 2023,” Bertland added.