By Martin Vedris

SYDNEY: The number’s up for Groupe SEB, in fact a range of numbers are up, from revenue and operating margin to operating profit and earnings per share. The company credits the result to its product mix, international distribution and cost management.

Omparing the first half results this year to 2007, highlights of Groupe SEB’s performance include a 15 per cent increase in revenue to €1,417 million, a 49 per cent increase in operating margin to €117 million (33 per cent excluding the Chinese Supor business which the company acquired late last year), and a operating profit and net profit up more than 80 per cent.

The Supor business contributed €143 million in revenue and €13 million in operating margin, vindicating that purchase already. Groupe SEB’s chairman and chief executive officer, Thierry de La Tour d’Artaise, said the Supor business has integrated well into the company and that the performance of Groupe SEB as a whole went against the downward trend of the market.

“In an environment that deteriorated as from the second quarter in West European markets, Groupe SEB enjoyed a very good first half, in line with last year’s results and shaped by solid growth, improved profitability and a healthy financial position,” said de La Tour d’Artaise.

“Moreover, the integration of Supor is well underway and projects are moving forward as planned.

“Mature markets should not show a positive change in the months ahead, but backed by our product dynamic, our international presence and our disciplined cost management, we remain confident in our ability to meet our 2008 targets of revenue growth and operating margin improvement.”

In a statement, Groupe SEB that the revenue growth was led by a large number of products, in particular the international rollout of 2007 flagship products as such as the Actifry.

Looking ahead, the company’s outlook for the rest of 2008 is that the challenging market trends will continue with the euro probably remaining strong, and raw material prices remaining high. However, the company expects a further improvement in operating margin.