D’Ieteren, parent company to Belron and Safelite, reported that first quarter automotive glass repair and replacement sales were one percent higher over the same period of 2013 largely due to a 3.1 percent organic increase and 2.2 percent growth from acquisitions. Sales were negatively impacted by “unexpected unfavorable weather conditions in Northern Europe, which resulted in temporary overcapacity in those geographies,” officials wrote in the company’s report.
“The situation could not be compensated by the additional volumes in North America as the fall through profit was low due to the impact of the weather on the ability to serve customers, resulting in lower productivity as well as shortages in glass,” they added.
“In Europe, first-quarter sales for Belron were 2.1 percent lower, consisting of a 2.9-percent organic decrease, a 0.1 percent negative translation effect and a 1-percent decline due to trading days, partially offset by 1.9 percent growth from acquisitions,” according to company officials.
The organic sales decrease was due to a “significantly warmer winter than in 2013 in Northern Europe.”
The growth in the region was largely due to the acquisition of the Spanish business of Guardian at the end of December 2013 and the additional DoctorGlass franchisees in Italy.
Outside of Europe, sales growth was higher, coming in at 4.6 percent, consisting of a 10-percent organic increase and 2.6 percent growth from acquisitions. The increase was partially offset by a 7.8 percent negative translation effect and a 0.2-percent decline due to trading days.
“The organic growth primarily reflects the impact of the extremely cold and prolonged winter weather in the Eastern side of North America compared to 2013,” officials wrote. “The acquisition growth is predominately due to the Guardian acquisition in the U.S. and former franchisees in Canada.”
Looking ahead, officials said, “Sales at the beginning of the second quarter follow the same trend with negative sales evolution in Europe as order backlog at the end of the first quarter of 2013 started to flow through April, leading to a tough comparative, and strong growth in the U.S., as a result of the tail effect of the harsh winter.”
Specific numbers were not provided for Belron’s U.S. operations.
Meanwhile, sales for D’Ieteren Auto were down 9.2 percent compared with the first quarter of 2013. Officials said the downswing was primarily due to a lower increase in dealer inventories during the period and to a slightly lower market share.