‘Alno had it coming,’ insists Rational boss

Rational managing director Thomas Klee has claimed that Alno “had it coming” in light of recent developments.

“It’s imploding as we speak,” he argued. “It’s been on the edge for a long, long time. Somehow it always seemed to find some new investor out of nowhere and suddenly have another few million to burn, saying next year is going to be better. Then it came around and had been really terrible and then it would say the next year is going to be good.

“At one point, it is just going to end and even the wealthiest investor will say, ‘no further’.”

Klee (pictured) claimed that he had spoken to Alno dealers that had been left “devastated” by the recent events.

“They’ve dedicated their lives to Alno, they don’t know what they’re doing, they don’t know where things are going, when they will get remedials, when they get to order kitchens,” he added. “I really feel for them because we can imagine very easily how the trade feels, and not being able to tell their clients what’s happening is such a frustrating feeling.”

Klee argued that even if Alno managed to recover, the damage to the brand is already beyond repair.

He also criticised a number of competing brands for behaving like “vultures” as they contacted Alno dealers the moment the news of the insolvency proceedings broke.

“The body is still warm, please, what is this?” he said. “Yes, you can’t blame them for trying to benefit from the situation and maybe it will be helpful for the Alno dealer, but come on, give them some time to settle. Have some ethics.”

Klee also claimed that too many brands got too wrapped up with growth instead of focusing on getting their offering right.

“The bigger they get, the more they are doomed for growth,” he explained. “If you are achieving €500 million turnover and don’t do at least a few percentage points more each year, they think ‘Oh my god’.”

Klee went on to say that it was very sad news for him, as he had started his career on the Wellmann brand. He thought that that the timing of it, alongside the Zeyko, Allmilmö and Nieburg insolvencies, meant that he had lost “a lot of friends along the way”.

“Each company had their own problems,” he said. “It was just a lot of bad news in a short period of time. They’re not really connected and each company had its own set of challenges.”

However, he claimed that the only silver lining in all of this was that other kitchen companies would be able to absorb Alno AG employees fairly easily.

“It hurts to see the people that you knew and former colleagues suffer,” Klee said. “The only good thing is they don’t have trouble finding new jobs because a lot of the kitchen industry around here is growing like crazy, like the Schüllers, Häckers, Nobillias. They grow each year because they are in a different market segment. We are competition, but in a way we are a kitchen family.”

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