SEB (Ecully / France; www.groupeseb.com) suffered only a relatively minor decline in sales in 2009 despite the global economic crisis. The company, which claims to be Europe´s largest manufacturer of small electrical household appliances and markets its products under such brands as "Rowenta", "Krups", "Moulinex" and "Tefal", saw revenue slip 1.7% to just under EUR 3.2 bn. In the last quarter, however, sales rose by 6.7% and made a significant contribution to the result.
The pressure on the operating profit was, however, more marked. After posting a figure of EUR 279m in 2008, it fell last year to EUR 248m, a decline of 11%. The good news is that SEB´s net debt was reduced by nearly two thirds to EUR 243m.