Reporting preliminary financial results for the year, GEA said the recovery gathered momentum over the course of 2010, culminating in a 24 per cent year-on-year increase in order intake to €1,248m in the fourth quarter.
The German engineering company said this figure is on a par with the average for 2008 – a year largely unaffected by the economic crisis.
Big Asia-Pacific order growth
Marc Pönitz, a spokesperson for GEA, told FoodProductionDaily.com that order intake from the food sector was above the group average in 2010 at around 15 per cent.
Pönitz said Middle-East, Asia-Pacific and Africa reported the best growth rates by far, at more than 50 per cent. GEA reported last summer that it expects this progress to result in China becoming its biggest marketplace by 2013.
The higher group order intake has yet to filter through into significantly higher sales; GEA said sales matched prior-year volume at €4,418m, as predicted in earlier guidance.
But GEA did manage to deliver a higher EBIT (before restructuring expenses) – up 7.2 per cent to €357m. This was partially thanks to cost savings from capacity reductions implemented at the beginning of the crisis in 2008.
Restructuring expenses, which amounted to €119m in 2010, took EBIT down below the 2009 level of €268m to €237m. The restructuring includes all provisions for 2011. No more further restructuring is planned.
Commenting on the results, Jürg Oleas, CEO of GEA Group said: “We are pleased that GEA could complete a very successful business year with two acquisitions that fit us well.”
GEA bought Convenience Food Systems (CFS) and the Bock Group at the end of 2010.
The financial details of the acquisitions were not revealed but GEA said CFS has a turnover of about €400m and Bock €70m.
It added that the CFS deal is part of a defined strategy of expansion in the food sector and will serve as a platform for future acquisitions.
Full year audited accounts are due to be published on March 10.