Geberit managing director, UK and Ireland, Mark Larden has described the integration of its Geberit and Twyford Bathrooms brands as “the start of a new era”, but admitted it has been “massively difficult”.
The integration was completed on January 1, following the acquisition of the Sanitec Group in February 2015.
“When you’ve got two companies coming together, it’s not just about processes and products, the biggest thing is people and their culture,” said Larden (pictured). “In Twyford, you’ve got a company that was established in 1849, so a huge name and long heritage versus the Geberit perspective, which has been in the UK for 15 years. So you’ve got massively different cultures. I have to say, it has gone extremely well, but it’s been tough.”
The sanitaryware manufacturer now plans to combine its three brands – Geberit, Twyford Bathrooms and Keramag Design – in both the contract and retail markets.
Larden said: “We want to really go forward with the three brands, just coupling the products together. On the one hand, you’ve got Geberit behind-the-wall technology, pipes, fittings, cisterns, drains, and you’ve got Twyford and Keramag Design in front of the wall. They go together perfectly. We’re just talking about a far greater bag of products.”
Larden also said that the company plans to drive awareness and demand for its AquaClean shower toilets in the UK.
“It’s relatively new technology from a UK point of view – we’re still a bit prudish about toilets. But it’s certainly a hugely growing trend and that’s one element – driving the technology of that – that Geberit has been very successful in.
“I realise that we are never going to convince 80% of the market to suddenly go for the shower toilet. It’s going to be gradual. It’s not about branding at this point in time, it’s about growing the category to make people aware of it.”
With the integration of the three businesses, Larden stated that the company is on target to reach a combined UK turnover of £100 million this year.
In 2015, Geberit saw sales of its own-brand products hit £60m and has experienced growth between 10 to 15% every year since entering the UK market in 2000.
Global turnover hit £1.5 billion, of which 92% took place in Europe, according to Larden.
In March, the company also announced the construction of a new head office in Warwick, doubling the size of its current premises. The move is expected to take place in January/February of 2017.