Rational Stock Drops as Currency Shift Reduces Earnings

Rational AG, the supplier of automated cookers for Queen Elizabeth II’s Buckingham Palace kitchen, fell the most in almost five years after shifts in exchange rates dragged first-half profit down 6 percent.

Rational plunged as much as 18 percent to 202.60 euros, the steepest intraday drop since October 2008, and was trading 16 percent lower at 10:51 a.m. in Frankfurt, valuing the stovemaker at 2.34 billion euros ($3.01 billion). Volume exceeded five times the three-month daily average.

Earnings before interest and taxes in the period probably fell to 50.5 million euros from 53.7 million euros a year earlier, the Landsberg am Lech, Germany-based company said in a statement today. Sales declined 0.7 percent to 106.8 million euros. Detailed figures will be published in August. Drops in the yen and the pound against the euro hurt sales the most, Chief Executive Officer Guenter Blaschke said.

“The currency effect is somewhat stronger than we had expected,” Blaschke said in a telephone interview. “We lost about 2 percent of growth in the first year through currency alone, about 3.2 million euros in sales. That’s above all because of the yen.”

Fluctuations in the value of the Japanese and mainland European currencies cut 2 million euros from sales, with the pound-euro shift reducing revenue by another 800,000 euros and moves by the Brazilian real lowering the figure by another 400,000 euros, Blaschke said.

Rational, which has been investing to expand sales and distribution networks in Europe as it anticipates a recovery from the region’s sovereign debt crisis, said it expects full-year profit to remain at last year’s level, while sales will grow around 5 percent.

“We are investing structurally in growth and operations, so our costs are increasing,” Blaschke said. “We are now investing in growth everywhere.”

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