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GEA continues profitable growth in the first quarter of 2024

World 08.05.2024
Source: The DairyNews
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GEA Group AG, a leading player in the industrial and technology sector, demonstrated a complex yet resilient financial performance in the first quarter of 2024.
GEA continues profitable growth in the first quarter of 2024
Source: GEA
Despite a decline in order intake, the company managed to maintain a trajectory of profitable growth, underscoring the robustness of its business model even in a challenging market environment.

A Closer Look at Order Intake and Revenue Streams
GEA reported a 13.6% decrease in order intake for Q1 2024, dropping to EUR 1,365 million from EUR 1,581 million in the previous year. This decrease was anticipated, given the strong performance in the prior-year quarter and adverse currency translation effects, which subtracted approximately EUR 62 million from the total. The organic decrease stood at 9.7%, reflecting a slowdown that was partially offset by modest growth in the Food & Healthcare division. This mixed performance in order intake across divisions suggests a selective contraction in market demand, particularly in industries outside of food and pharma.

Revenue, on the other hand, experienced an organic growth of 2.7%, albeit a slight nominal decrease of 2.3%, settling at EUR 1,241 million compared to EUR 1,271 million in Q1 2023. The organic growth was driven notably by the Separation & Flow Technologies, Farm Technologies, and Heating & Refrigeration Technologies divisions. The increase in the service business share to 38% (up from 36.6% in Q1 2023) is particularly notable, pointing towards a strategic shift towards more stable revenue streams.

Earnings, Profitability, and Shareholder Value
GEA's EBITDA before restructuring expenses increased by 5.1% year-on-year to EUR 180.5 million, reflecting an improved EBITDA margin of 14.5%, up from 13.5% the previous year. This improvement in margin efficiency indicates effective cost management and operational optimization, even in the face of revenue and order intake headwinds. Furthermore, the company reported a 10.9% increase in profit for the period, with earnings per share climbing from EUR 0.47 to EUR 0.53.

Despite these positive indicators, the Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) slightly declined to 32.3% from 33.1%. This slight dip, though still at a high level, could signal a cautious note for investors regarding the company's capital efficiency over time.

Strategic Initiatives and Forward Outlook
GEA’s strategic focus remains clear with the progression of its share buyback program and the overwhelming shareholder approval of its Climate Transition Plan 2040. The share buyback program, aimed at enhancing shareholder value, is progressing well with the second tranche set to begin in June 2024. Additionally, the approval of the Climate Transition Plan not only enhances GEA’s sustainability credentials but also positions it as a leader in industrial climate initiatives within the DAX index family.

For the fiscal year 2024, GEA has confirmed its outlook, expecting organic revenue growth of 2.0 to 4.0% and an EBITDA margin before restructuring expenses of 14.5 to 14.8%. These projections reflect a cautious but steady optimism in the company's ability to navigate market fluctuations and leverage its diversified industrial portfolio.

GEA's first-quarter performance in 2024 illustrates a nuanced picture of resilience amid challenges. While the decline in order intake presents a cautionary tale of fluctuating market demand, the company’s strategic adaptations and robust profitability metrics suggest a steady course ahead.

Earlier we wrote: GEA GROUP Revenue 2023 Rose by 4.0 Percent to EUR 5.4 Billion
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