Refrigeration equipment manufacturer AFE Group confident despite Brexit uncertainty

Tim Smith, chief executive of AFE Group monitoring the Williams Refrigeration equipment at the new S

Tim Smith, chief executive of AFE Group monitoring the Williams Refrigeration equipment at the new Sainsbury store in King's Lynn. Picture: AFE Group - Credit: Archant

A refrigeration and catering equipment group has said it remains optimistic despite Brexit uncertainty.

The King's Lynn-based AFE Group, which owns brands such as Williams Refrigeration, Millers Vanguard and Mono Equipment, said activity in a number of areas had been changeable.

Turnover fell slightly from £119.1m in August 2015 to £118.3m for the year to August 31 2016, while pre-tax profit was up to £19m from £18.8m in the most recent accounts filed at Companies House.

EDP/EADT Top 100 company AFE said exports had fallen by 17.7%, or £7.4m, due to sizeable bakery equipment projects which had not reoccurred in 2016.

In his report chief executive Tim Smith said: 'We remain optimistic towards future sales growth; however activity levels within a number of key market sectors is seen as changeable in the year ahead as major clients undertake strategic reviews of their business models particularly in light of the Brexit referendum and uncertainties that arise in the economic and currency markets.'

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The group added it had continued to invest in research and development which remains a key feature of its strategy.

Employee numbers increased by 56 to 1,246 during the year.

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Mr Smith added the business faced challenging markets with regulatory changes arising from the Energy Related Products Directive – which set energy performance standards – and controls on fluorinated greenhouse gas used in refrigeration.

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