2014 is not over yeat, but we can say with confidence that this has been a year of many changes in the European kitchen industry. Big companies are making big moves at home and overseas, long time players are leaving the industry and new ones are entering the arena, instead. We have also lost some companies, to the ongoing recesion, in Europe.
Here are some of the major changes in the industry this year, not necassary in chronological order:
- The Siemens Group has pulled out of the industry this year. They will no longer be involved in producing appliances and their joint venture with Bosch is history. BSH (Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH, or Bosch and Siemens Household Appliances) has been the largest home appliance manufacturer in Europe and one of the largest in the world, since 1967, when Robert Bosch GmbH (Stuttgart) and Siemens AG (Munich) joined forces. In 2012, they posted 9.8 billion Euros in annual sales. Today, BSH operates 42 factories in 13 countries in Europe, the USA, Latin America and Asia. Together with a global network of sales and customer service firms, the BSH conglomerate today is made up of about 70 companies in 50 countries, with a total workforce of close to 47,000 people. In addition to the Bosch and Siemens brands, like are responsible for many other brands like Gaggenau, Neff, Constructa and others. In September 2014, Robert Bosch GmbH agreed to purchase Siemens’ 50% stake in the joint venture for 3 billion Euros. BSH to become a wholly owned subsidiary of the Bosch Group and may continue to use the Siemens brand over the long term. The completion of the transaction is expected in first half of calendar year 2015.
Siemens – BSH no more…
- Alno made several news stories this year – in the beginning of the year, Alno have acquired AFG Arbonia-Forster-Holding AG’s kitchen business which includes Swiss market leaders Piatti (kitchen producer and retailer in Witzerland) and Forster (Swiss Steel Kitchen). The acquisition means a major step forward in ALNO’s efforts to reduce its dependency from the German market that is dominated by purchasing associations, resulting in higher margins. Additionally, the acquisition offers substantial synergy potential with regard to production processes, purchasing and sales & distribution for the combined ALNO/AFG Kitchen group.
- Next, Alno was able to win the three and a half year old court cases against them, by their former president, Jörg Deisel. Alno is getting back 2.6 million Euro, plus a few hunderd thousands in legal fees, based on the German legal system. If lost, Alno would have paid, for both cases approx 6.5 million Euros(!)
- Lastly, Alno just announced a joint venture with PMF (Pervaya Mebel’naya Fabrica – First Furniture factory), in Russia – the two partners will invest €50 million in establishing in St. Petersburg the biggest factory in Russia for the production of kitchen furniture (1,000 units or 100-120 kitchens per day). It will be located on the existing site of PMF, expanded with the areas purchased this year. Until the end of the year, the company will deliver Piatti production line from Switzerland.
- RWK/Kuhlmann Küchen (R. & W. Kuhlmann GmbH), formed in 1923, was taken over this year by the Chinese company Boloni Home Decor, a minute before filing for bankrupcy. Boloni was founded in 1988, by Frank Chai, from Beijingunder the name Kebao. They were bringing European kitchens and built in appliances to China. In 2001 the created a joint venture with Brescia based, Italian company Boloni and adopted the name. Most of the Kuhlmann-kitchens employees are expected to keep their jobs and the “made in Germany” is now to be marketed to the high-end segment in China.
- Gatto Cucine, the Italian kitchen producer closed their doors in September. After 52 years in business, Gatto could not stay in business any longer. The compant announced that they are planning on continuing selling, outsourced products back in September, but that paln did not seem to come to fruition and the 114 employees were sent home.