Electrolux commands a premium global position in food-service equipment and laundry solutions for professional users. Profitability improved during the year as a result of strategic growth initiatives. Veetsan, one of the largest manufacturers of professional dishwashers in China, was acquired.
Alberto Zanata, Head of Professional Products
North America represents slightly more than 35% and Europe 25% of the global market demand for professional food and laundry products.
Of the Group’s professional products sales, about 60% stem from food-service equipment and 40% from laundry solutions. About 60% of sales is generated in Europe and almost 10% in North America. Other key markets include Japan, China, Turkey, the Middle East and Africa.
Electrolux has a strong position in the European food-service market, in particular in the institutional (hospital, staff canteens, schools) and hospitality (restaurants, catering and hotels) segments. The Group is also a leading player in complete installations in a number of growth markets. Food-service equipment is sold mainly under the Electrolux brand, but also under regional brands, such as Zanussi.
Examples of laundry equipment customers include hospital and hotel laundries. Electrolux also supplies products for apartment building laundries in Scandinavia and for launderettes, mainly in North America.
Total demand in the professional food-service and laundry equipment markets increased during the year.
Organic sales for Electrolux increased by 3%, mainly due to growth in key markets in Western Europe, but also in the U.S. and in growth markets such as Africa and the Middle East.
The Group’s strategic initiatives to expand in new markets and new segments, and new product launches contributed to the positive sales trend.
As part of the Group’s strategy to increase growth in the professional segment, Electrolux acquired Shanghai Veetsan Commercial Machinery in 2015, one of the largest manufacturers of professional dishwashers in China. The acquisition strengthens the Group’s presence in China and Asia/Pacific, where growth opportunities are deemed to be favorable. Veetsan has annual sales of approximately SEK 115m and about 200 employees in China. The acquisition contributed to a sales increase of 1%.
The Group continued to launch and develop products with strong sustainability profiles.
Energy efficiency has a high priority in the development of professional equipment.
Some examples of important launches during the year include the successful introduction of myPRO, the semiprofessional laundry solution for small businesses, see page 61, and the Green&Clean dishwasher, which has the highest energy efficiency in its class. This year, the Lagoon® Advanced Care, a wet-cleaning system for particularly delicate fabrics, was launched. The water-based system is just as effective and simple as dry cleaning, and is also eco-friendly.
An Excellence Program is in place to achieve the highest possible standards of quality and effective cost control. The aim of the program is to make Electrolux the industry benchmark from the perspective of innovation, quality, distribution-lead time and customer support. During the year, the Electrolux development team focused particularly on developing functions and products to further reduce, for example, energy and water consumption, and emissions, for the benefit of the Group’s customers.
Professional Products reported organic sales growth of 2.8% in 2015. Sales increased in several markets. The Group’s strategic initiatives to grow in new markets and segments as well as new product launches contributed to the sales trend.
Operating income and margin showed a strong improvement compared to the previous year.
The successfull introduction of the new myPRO professional washing machine for small businesses such as gyms, beauty saloons and small hotels, - a new segment for Electrolux - continued during the year.
The Thermaline cooking range is designed to meet the needs of the most demanding heavy-duty kitchens in the world. It combines state-of-the-art technologies, superior productivity and cutting-edge design with the highest quality standards for high-productivity professional kitchens. Electrolux works continuously to develop sustainable solutions to help customers boost taste and at the same time strengthen energy efficiency, save water and reduce CO2 emissions.