Reason: Commercial kitchen equipment supplier exceeds expectations.

Last Updated: 16. Januar 2024By

It’s official since yesterday: Germany was in a recession in 2023. This was announced by the Federal Statistical Office on Monday, stating that the gross domestic product decreased by 0.3% compared to the previous year. The main reasons for the recession are „high prices and unfavorable financing conditions,“ said Ruth Brand, President of the Federal Statistical Office.

However, there are numerous German medium-sized companies for whom the past year has been very successful, as shown by the recently published figures of the Bavarian commercial kitchen supplier Rational AG. According to preliminary calculations, the company was able to exceed its forecasts for the past year in some cases.

But before I explain the preliminary business figures of Rational AG in detail, let me introduce the company briefly.

Rational AG at a glance Founded in 1973, Rational AG is, according to its own statement, the global market and technology leader for thermal food preparation in professional kitchens. The mechanical engineering company was founded as Rational GmbH – Gesellschaft für Produktion und Vertrieb von Heißluftgeräten.

In 1976, the company based in Landsberg am Lech (60 km west of Munich) developed the first combi-steamer, which can be used to cook prepared food in commercial kitchens. To date, the Bavarian company has produced more than 1.2 million combi-steamers and achieved a world market share of around 50%.

Rational currently employs over 2,500 people in 31 subsidiaries, including around 1,450 in Germany. Since its IPO in 2000, Rational has been listed on the Prime Standard of the German Stock Exchange and is currently represented in the MDAX.

Forecast exceeded for sales and profits According to preliminary calculations, the business of the steam equipment manufacturer ran smoothly even in the recession year 2023. The Bavarians were able to achieve a record turnover of 1.125 billion euros last year.

This corresponds to an increase of 10% compared to the previous year. This puts the turnover and growth rate of the Landsberg-based commercial kitchen supplier slightly above the forecast made in the 2022 annual report.

The main reasons for the record turnover in 2023 were the significantly increased sales figures in the combi-steamer product group iCombi, the successful after-sales business, and price adjustments. But the successful reduction of the high order backlog also supported the positive sales development, according to the company.

Rational also saw a significant increase in profits last year. The good sales growth, combined with disproportionately rising costs, resulted in an operating record result (EBIT) of around 277 million euros.

This means that the operating profit was 17% higher than the previous year’s result. According to preliminary calculations, the operating profit margin (EBIT margin) will be around 24.5%, exceeding the upper value of the forecast range.

The Rational share, which reached a peak of around 1,000 euros in 2021, was one of the biggest „stars“ in the German stock market for many years. However, rising interest rates also affected the Rational share in 2022 and 2023. Currently, the share is trading at around 700 euros and is far from a bargain in terms of valuation. Quality, however, has its price.