CENTRAL EUROPE, EASTERN EUROPE AND NORDIC COUNTRIES
Despite a difficult and unstable socio-economic environment — marked mainly by the change in cycle in the Russian market and the instability created by the conflict in Ukraine — the Group achieved a sales increase of 1% in the region (9% in local currency). The fall in the sanitary ware market in some markets was offset by the diversification of supply, both through faucet and furniture products and through gel-coat and Solid Surface products in Poland. The Group maintains its leadership in Central and Eastern Europe, allocating new industrial investments to strengthen this position and committing decisively to the Nordic markets by purchasing a Norwegian distributor.
New Armani/Roca showroom in Kazan, one of the country’s most populous cities.
The impact of falling oil prices and geopolitical tensions arising from the conflict in Ukraine — both in terms of international sanctions and the loss of trust — have dragged the Russian economy to plummet in a way that was unthinkable just a few months ago. How it all plays out is still to be seen, as Russian citizens are backing their government’s decisions.
New Armani/Roca showroom in Kazan, one of the country’s most populous cities.
In this difficult environment, the Group achieved sales growth of 12.2%, affected by the devaluation of the ruble and a very uneven performance in the various segments. Upscale product ranges grew strongly, middle ranges remained sluggish and entry-level and popular lines fell sharply. The Group’s industrial capacity and commercial presence in the country — boasting seven own plants and selling six third-party brands — provided a unique competitive advantage to tackle the crisis and strengthen its leading position in the bathroom space.
Despite the economic uncertainty, the Group has continued to invest in industrial capacity by improving the efficiency of its factories and production processes. The faucet assembly plant in Cheboksary (Russia) was also commissioned and managed under the platform concept.
Despite the collapse in sales caused by the severe market situation, the Group intends to maintain its long-term strategy in Ukraine, home of its subsidiary, based in Kiev.
Stand de Roca en Mosbuild, la feria más importante del sector en Rusia.
MosBuild Fair 2014. Roca’s booth in Russia’s largest construction and interior design industry fair showcased the brand’s novelties under the “Browse your bathroom” concept. Some of the highlights were the Rimless toilet, The Gap porcelain collection, the Debba bathroom furniture, the Open faucets and the new finishes for our Newcast cast iron bathtubs. Updates on the BLB brand and the Gala brand — sold in Russia through a local distributor — were also provided at the fair.
New showrooms. In 2014, the Group’s global brands increased their presence in the country’s main cities by opening new showrooms: Laufen showrooms in St. Petersburg and Moscow and showrooms featuring the exclusive Armani/Roca collection in Kazan and Samara.
The Swiss economy continued growing in 2014 (2%) despite the trend towards moderating consumption and pending the effects in 2015 of eliminating the Swiss central bank’s intervention to limit the appreciation of the Swiss franc against the euro. The strong performance of the construction sector, both in new homes and the home remodelling market gave the Group an increase of 6.2% in sales, driven by the leadership of Laufen and the increased share of Similor after the positive reception of its latest releases.
In terms of production, a unit of four pressure casting sanitary ware machines for toilets was set up at the Laufen plant. The country’s main event was the biannual Swissbau fair.
160th anniversary of Similor. Similor AG, specializing in faucets, celebrated its 160th anniversary with an exhibition at the Laufen Forum featuring a complete tour of the history of the brand. Similor became part of the Roca Group in 2007 and its experience has been instrumental in boosting the supply of faucets in the Central European market.
The complete Laufen catalog is available in an app for smartphones and tablets.
Laufen Curvetronic, electronic faucets awarded an IF Design Award.
In the other countries of Central Europe, the Group achieved a more than double-digit increase for the fourth consecutive year in Germany, driven by the consolidation of its presence in traditional distribution, the main engine of growth in the sector. In Austria, the year brings a slow recovery in the construction industry and restructuring in distribution, and the Group maintains its leading position in sanitary ware, posting results similar to 2013.
Presence at fairs. In Germany, Roca and Laufen were present at fairs in Essen and Nuremberg, held in alternate years to the ISH fair. These are of great importance for the installer and distributor sector. In Austria, Laufen was present at Aquaterm.
Laufen showrooms featuring the Palomba Collection (left) and Kartell (right) series.
Showrooms de Laufen con la series Kartell.
Poland is one of the developing economies with the strongest growth in Eastern Europe, thanks to the solid performance of private consumption and improved working conditions. However, the porcelain market dropped by 4%. The Group managed to contain this recession thanks to range diversification, mainly by increasing the supply of new materials such as Solid Surface and gel-coat in shower trays and bathtubs, especially in the premium segment. Solid Surface solutions are sold as Surfex in Roca and as Sentec in Laufen, and gel-coat products are sold as Stonex in Roca and Marbond in Laufen.
Industrial improvements. The plant in Poland has acquired a new machine for Solid Surface prototypes and molds to increase flexibility and speed, as this business requires. Likewise, the gel-coat line has developed a resin infusion technique. The expansion of the porcelain plant in Gliwice, scheduled for 2016, was also approved.
Roca participated in the prestigious Lodz Design Festival (Poland), an event aimed at architects and designers. Group showroom in Prague, showcasing Roca, Laufen and Jika brands. In addition to product exhibition, activities are organized aimed at architecture and design professionals.
The depreciation of the local currency and the economic measures undertaken by the Government have boosted the country’s growth in 2014, a year which also witnessed a recovery in construction. The Group benefits from this environment with increased market share, strengthening its leadership in sanitary ware. It also achieves significant gains in faucets and furniture.
Global supplier. Thanks to the 2013 investments in faucet and furniture assembly units, very significant growth was seen in these segments.
Group showroom in Prague, showcasing Roca, Laufen and Jika brands. In addition to product exhibition, activities are organized aimed at architecture and design professionals.
Key year in the restructuring of the Group’s operations in the Nordic region, following the June acquisition of the Norwegian company VVS Marketing. Until then, the whole business was managed by the team of the Laufen Nordic subsidiary based in Køge (Denmark).
The acquisition of VVS Marketing — previously the Group’s importer in Norway — paves the way for consolidating the growth of own brands in a region where service demand is very high. The local company, in Drammen (80 km from Oslo), boasts very strong infrastructures including a 6,000 square meter logistics center and an extensive showroom and training center.
Laufen Nordic sales grew by 22% and the points of sale in Denmark grew to over 500.
Laufen Pro Nordic. Much of the Group’s sales growth is due to the launch of the Laufen Pro Nordic series two years ago, designed specifically for Scandinavian countries. It was reinforced with the launch of the Laufen Kompas series at ISH 2015.
Laufen Nordic headquarters in the Danish town of Køge.
New Laufen Kompas series, presented at ISH 2015.
BULGARIA Y ROMANIA
In a context of growth, although more moderate than in previous years, the Group remains intensely active in Bulgaria and Romania, both in terms of branding and leading hotel and residential projects. Other notable events were the launch of the Debba and Tipo collections and the activities at Expo Bath Sofia.
Meeting of distributors. Expo Bath Sofia hosted the first international meeting of Roca distributors in Southeast Europe, welcoming 250 guests from Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, Romania, Serbia and Croatia.