By Chris Nicholls

CEDEX, FRANCE: Groupe SEB has announced what it called a “strong” final quarter for 2007 and full year sales of €2.869 million, up 8.2 per cent.

The company put the growth down to a “favourable market environment, in terms of both volumes and prices, buoyed by sustained demand.”

Worldwide, organic growth was 8.6 per cent, well above the 5.4 per cent growth rate of 2006.

The figures did not include the contribution from their Chinese tie-up with Supor, confirmed towards the end of last year. According to the report, the company also lost an approximate €38.6 million in currency fluctuations, versus €7 million for the same time last year.

Groupe SEB also admitted to troubles in the North American market, with problems coming from a weaker dollar and Mexican peso and slow economy in the US. 

Despite a “relatively promising” fourth quarter, Rowenta and All-Clad reported satisfactory performances, while T-fal remained under pressure and Krups continued to experience difficulties ahead of new product launches scheduled for 2008, the company said.

The company said “disturbing productivity improvement measures, implemented in Mirro WearEver, meant that arm also felt some financial pain. However, the measures should mean growth returns in the future.

However, the company said it achieved strong performance in home market France, mainly due to successful launches of high value products such as the Actifry fryer, the Silence Force vacuum cleaner, the Quick’n Hot kettle, the Dolce Gusto multi-drink system, the Beertender draught beer system and the Baguette bread machine.

The rest of the 15-country EU showed growth for the first time in years, with 3.8 per cent. In all other markets, the Group performed well in terms of volumes, product mix and prices, and benefited from a more aggressive sales strategy. Growth pace slowed at the end of the year in countries such as Germany, Scandinavia or the Netherlands, as well as in Italy. Growth remained “very satisfactory” in Spain, Portugal and Greece, the report stated.

South America showed 8.9 per cent growth. In Central Europe, CIS, Asia and other countries, despite various currency depreciations, Groupe SEB still saw 16.7 per cent growth (at constant exchange rates).