This is part 2 of my look at the top ten companies to watching during 2017 in the UK glazing industry. It’s going to be an ultra-competitive year, as our sector goes into battle with itself to compete for home owner sales in the face of Brexit, an uncertain economy and growing demand from the public for ever more product diversity and choice.
Here are my remaining top five picks for this year:
These were the winners of the Aluminium Company category in the 2016 National Fenestration Awards, and the news was well received by the business and the wider industry. There is respect for these guys.
Customade is also the power behind the newly launched REAL Aluminium. Their ethos is to make the world of aluminium easier for installers. Not a bad ideology, considering the growing web of options across the whole sector. Atlas is also part of the Customade group and have made real waves in the lantern roof market in recent years.
It’s their expertise in aluminium, at a time when residential aluminium is on an absolute tear which makes Customade, and the companies within the group ones to watch this year. A potential acquisition target in the medium term? Perhaps, if aluminium continues it’s tear.
One of the main dates in all our diaries is this year’s FIT Show. And the pressure will be on to deliver. A surprise move to the NEC brings a consecutive exhibition for 2017.
Expectations will be high. The NEC is a much bigger space to fill. Those visiting will be expecting a lot more to look at, especially after only having another exhibition the year previous. Those exhibiting will be expecting a much increased footfall. 10k over the three days would be nice, I think 12k would be better. I will be in attendance of course, giving it the DGB treatment. Although I may just keep it work focused and give the side line drinks and evening entertainment a miss. I’m yet to decide on that.
If the show fills the available hall space and achieves 10k+ visitors by a wide margin then I think we shall call is a success. Less than 10k and gaps in the floor space and the response may be muted.
Iso-Chemie… and TruFit
Perhaps not the most obvious choices. And the reason I’ve picked both for this one is that Iso Chemie has been a long established producer of window and door foam sealant solutions and is seeing a rise in performance as more parts of the industry reexamine how they seal their window and door installations. I’ve picked TruFit, part of the Edgetech UK family, as it’s a sign of where the future is on the window and door sealant front. The insulating properties of these products, and the ease in which they are fitted means that more and more installers will begin to use these products as a unique selling point against their local competition.
I expect both companies to perform strongly during 2017, and to help change the way the installation part of the market thinks about the way they fit their projects.
The sash window revolution continues with home owners. More and more installers are turning to sash windows as a form of diversification, looking to make the most of upturn in fortunes for a part of the market that some might have thought long forgotten not that long ago.
One of the best placed companies to make the most of the upturn is Roseview Windows. They produce and deliver one of the best PVCu sash window products on the market, and have indeed won awards. They are genuinely one of the market leaders when it comes to sash windows, and if you ask an installer what sash window brands or fabricators they know of, more likely than not it will be Roseview.
Although not the most vocal company in our industry, their potential this year, and in the coming years as the resurgence in sash window market continues is enviable. They will find 2017 a bumper year so long as they keep their strong customer service ethics up and quality control good. Perhaps another acquisition target if all goes well?
Still the biggest company when it comes to conservatory roof production in the UK market, Ultraframe faces a number of challenges from a number of competitors who are growing and posing a threat to market share. They are on this list because a company of the size and influence of Ultraframe always carries a certain amount of attention.
Their most recent roof iteration, the UltraRoof380 will be marketed big time this year, especially with the FIT Show coming up at the end of May. The performance of that product may give an indication as to the direction Ultraframe may go in the future. And it’s worth remembering that the Cornice gutter cladding and the LivinRoom internal detail are still two of the most successful glazed extension product launches for years. They have embraced technology in a big way too. I played with their app and VR headset combined with a smartphone at the last FIT Show and was impressed by it. A genuine selling tool for installers looking to inspire home owners wanting a new glazed extension.
But, they face challenges from rivals outside and inside the family. How they respond will be interesting to take note of.
These are my picks for this year. Of course, someone might come along unexpectedly and turn things on it’s head. The only certainty we have about this year is that it will be uncertain. There will be plenty of competition, lots of acquisition and takeover talk and plenty to discuss over the course of the year. All feedback welcome on Parts 1 and 2 via the comments area below.
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