Over the past few years our industry has undergone somewhat of a transformation. The recent recession years has allowed the very best to make their moves in the market and swallow up companies that would help either expand their product portfolio or fill the gaps that were there to be plugged. However, whilst companies have been buying other companies, it has been bringing much of the industry closer together, whether that was an intended side effect or not.
So whilst things at the top might remain clear, there are side effects lower down the chain. Let me give you an example.
As our main PVCu fabricator we use John Fredericks. Fredericks are traditionally a Halo fabricator. However a few years ago VEKA bought Halo, so now John Fredericks are a VEKA fabricator using the Halo product, but now using some VEKA products too. Not only that after being taken over by A & B Group a few years ago, they now fabricate the Eurocell product as well as the new Modus system from Eurocell too. So, in just a few short years John Fredericks has gone from one main product to four, all thanks to two takeovers. I did not envy the task of getting those extras products online!
For those who use Synseal fabricators, the situation is probably the same. They have been on the acquisition path over the past few years and so a whole raft of new products are now available to those fabricators and installers. But knowing the company family tree isn’t the only complicated thing.
The more buyouts that happen, the bigger there is a chance for crossovers and even potential for product conflicts. Again, I’ll use our business as an example for a crossover.
John Fredericks are a VEKA fabricator using the VEKA and Halo products. We also use Evolution as our timber alternative suppliers, who VEKA supply the profile for. So straight away we have a VEKA connection from two different suppliers. Good for VEKA, as they supply two very good companies. But it can mean that the two fabricators might just be a little bit more on their toes than they might normally be.
On an even bigger level, you only have to look at companies like the Epwin Group for crossovers. They own a huge number of profile and system companies. Beneath them there will be a series of fabricators, and beneath them an even bigger series of installers. There’s probably hundreds of crossovers within that whole network on a monthly basis!
Our world is getting smaller
Yes, our little world of windows and doors is getting smaller by the year. The bigger groups and companies continue to get bigger, snapping up more companies along the way. And we now have a new super-group forming this year from the foundations of Solidor. Who knows what sort of crossovers that will bring when their acquisitions are announced.
In the future I do believe there is going to have to be a balancing act to make sure that any future mergers or buyouts don’t create any conflicts of interest for any party. Of course, the more businesses that are bought by others, the harder that is going to be.
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