Strong UK quarter for Nobia


The latest results from the Nobia Group (April – June 2015) with 20-or-so brands including Magnet, Poggenpohl, ewe, Goldreif and Rixonway Kitchens enjoyed increased growth in its UK region with net sales up to SEK 1,571m. compared with SEK1,173m. for the same period in 2014.

UK growth, says Nobia, was primarily attributable to the lower price segments in the market, with organic sales growth was chiefly attributable to Magnet, but B2B sales also increased. Meanwhile, Magnet’s transition to the Group’s common standard dimension was completed

In Magnet, growth was mainly attributable to sales to consumers, but the project segment also grew. The Simply Magnet product range, which was launched during the third quarter of 2014, was well received by customers. Rixonway Kitchens, which was acquired in the fourth quarter of 2014, reported net sales of SEK 104 m. during the second quarter of 2015.

Gross margin declined slightly, negatively impacted by lower sales values and an effect of the acquisition of Rixonway, and positively impacted by favourable currency gains and lower prices of materials.

The improvement in UK operating profit was mainly due to positive currency gains and higher sales volumes.
Nobia’s market in Central Europe meanwhile is deemed to have declined compared with the year-earlier period. The Austrian market performed particularly negatively during the period. Organic growth was negative too, and this said Nobia was attributable to both the Austrian operations and Poggenpohl. The decline in sales in Austria was due to a negative market trend. Poggenpohl’s sales decline was due to lower sales in own stores, and lower project deliveries to Asia.

Morten Falkenberg, Nobia’s President and CEO said:

“The Group’s organic growth amounted to 7 per cent and the operating margin improved in all regions. Net sales in our two largest regions, Nordics and the UK, increased to both consumers and professional customers,”

“The introduction of the low specification Simply Magnet range in the UK was well received.”

“We are continuing to focus on profitable growth, both organically and through acquisitions. Providing that the current market situation is maintained, we expect to be able to achieve the target of an operating margin of 10 per cent during the next calendar year.”

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Broader retail distribution for ILBAGNOALESSI One


The iconic ILBAGNOALESSI One collection from Laufen, launched as a prototype in 2014 and initially sold through a limited number of retailers, is now available throughout the Laufen retailer network.

Sporting the same elegantly soft curves and beautiful design that have become synonymous with this legendary range from Italian designer Stefano Giovannoni, the latest additions stay true to form, with timeless pieces designed to integrate seamlessly into the contemporary bathroom.

All the beauty and elegance of the collection’s original ‘Tuna’ countertop washbasin is now available in smaller sizes, of 900mm or 1200mm widths, making them ideal for any bathroom space.

The washbasin’s sculptural bowl is combined with an easy-to-wipe clean countertop shelf, while its gentle curves and soft lines combine perfectly with furniture from the same range, in a choice of Canaletto walnut or a white lacquered finish and now available in a new 2400mm wide unit to accommodate double washbasins.

Also in the ILBAGNOALESSI One collection is a luxurious solid surface bathtub, available as either a freestanding or built-in version and with an optional air massage system. This is joined by a new siphonic WC, crafted from one-piece for a seamless, hygienic finish that offers a powerful flushing performance.

Introducing Laufen’s revolutionary new ceramic, SaphirKeramik, into the collection for the very first time, the new additions also include accessories made from this material, including a shelf towel holder, a toilet paper holder and a hanger.

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New checklist aims to boost solar across UK commercial rooftops


The Solar Trade Association (STA) has published a simple and clear checklist to give managers in commerce and industry the confidence to put solar on their roofs.

Commercial and industrial roofs dominate the solar market in Europe, but in the UK commercial roofs account for only five per cent of all solar deployment to date.

However, as part of DECC’s 2014 Solar PV Strategy, the emphasis is now changing significantly towards boosting rooftop installations and the STA and its members are working closely with government to help unlock the huge potential across the UK.

The small commercial roofs sub-market (50kW-250kW) is growing steadily but slowly, with 170MW installed in total across 1,200 installations. One of the limiting factors to the market is commercial awareness and confidence from rooftop owners who need reliable guidance. The government focus on this sector and the STA work to support, identify and break down barriers, is now showing signs of significant growth in this market: the first quarter of 2015 saw deployment double compared to the first quarter of 2014.

However, the latest DECC data shows there are only 70 larger-scale (250kW+) solar roofs installed across the UK, and this is where more focus and support is required to tackle the limited deployment. More high profile schemes like the Jaguar Land Rover and BMW car factory roofs are needed.

Paul Barwell, CEO of the STA, said:

“From Apple and Amazon, to Marks & Spencer and Walmart, many well-known companies are going solar to reduce their carbon footprint and because they want the reliable and clean power supply solar provides during work hours. Many companies want to follow suit, and if we can help them to identify competent contractors then we will have more UK success stories. We hope our Confidence Checklist will empower more commercial sector managers to install solar on the roofs of their company premises.”

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom MP said:

“Solar is an integral part of the UK’s energy mix. It’s great to see industry initiatives like this boosting confidence and take-up, so hardworking families and businesses can benefit from low-carbon energy and lower bills.”

The checklist, which can be downloaded from the STA website, is applicable to all size of commercial rooftop installation from schools and small businesses to large supermarkets and factories. Solar has been installed on a huge range of structures across the UK including bridges, airports, city skyscrapers, railway station roofs, car parks and even motorway sound barriers. Solar can also be integrated in to buildings, embedded in glass as windows, and also included as a vertical building facade.

The STA’s technical specialist, Chris Roberts, who developed the checklist in partnership with STA members, said:

“Speaking to our members and interested commercial companies, it is clear that many commercial managers will benefit from guidance to help them navigate the installation of a solar scheme, which can be complex. Much of the currently guidance is simply too technical. Managers want to know how to identify a quality contractor to work with. Our checklist helps them to do this, and to monitor the project effectively as it proceeds.”

The STA has previously identified administrative barriers to the incorporation of solar power on commercial premises. Government is acting to remove several of these, including permitted development rights for solar up to 1MW (meaning it will not need planning permission) and the ability to shift rooftop schemes if companies move premises.

Paul added:

“We need more ambitious rooftop targets and changes to the policy framework by government to ensure commercial rooftop solar can fulfil its potential in future, but there is no reason why companies cannot take the initiative to go solar today. We hope that our Commercial Rooftop Solar Confidence Checklist will give a little push to companies that have been thinking about going solar to take the plunge. If they follow our advice, it’s a move they won’t regret.”

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Uform introduces smooth painted finish doors and accessories




Uform has introduced two new smooth painted finish doors in 21 colours to its Kitchen Stori collection.

The introduction of the new product ranges follows extensive market research says Uform, with painted furniture and kitchens in particular proving to be one of the top interior trends.

The Florence and Georgia ranges are the latest offerings under the Kitchen Stori brand and come complete with a range of accessories allowing consumers to achieve statement pieces of painted kitchen furniture with almost endless design possibilities.

Both ranges include accessories such as beaded end panels, modular pilasters and quadrant mouldings all allowing for individuality in terms of design and overall look, with pastry benches and spice racks among some of the pieces that can be achieved.

Both new styles are 18mm routered doors, the Georgia range is a classic shaker style door while the Florence range varies slightly with the incorporation of a subtle internal bead around the centre panel of the door. Manufactured using MDF Plus, this provides a stable material that is finished to an exceptionally high standard through Uform’s own automated paint line.

The pallet of 21 colours incorporates a range of both dark and light tones including muted and earthy shades that, says Uform, are currently hot on trend. Four popular colours are available ex-stock in the Georgia and Florence range, namely Porcelain, Light Grey, Mussel and Stone.

Uform’s managing director Eamon Donnelly said:

“We are delighted to bring these new product offerings to the market and are confident that our new portfolio will offer not only end consumers an extensive range of design possibilities but also kitchen retailers the opportunity to sell ranges that offer value, convenience and choice in terms of lead time and colour.

“Our latest offerings are not only innovative in terms of design; they are products of exceptional quality, products that retailers will be both confident and proud to offer.”


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Word of mouth polled most effective way to find tradesmen


Latest research from WaterSafe has revealed that recommendations by word of mouth to find tradesmen are more effective than advertising online.

The research found family and friend recommendations came out on top with nearly two thirds (63%) citing they find a trader through someone they know, the internet was then second most popular with just under a quarter (23%) saying they look online, surprisingly, 22% still use the Yellow Pages or phone book to find a tradesperson.

But with these findings comes the hard hitting truth that one in five of those who hire a trader through a family member or friend would trust the person completely and not ask for proof of qualifications or accreditations. This is despite WaterSafe’s estimates that rogue plumbers alone have cost the nation £2.6 billion in recent years.



Julie Spinks, director at WaterSafe, said:

“While it is great to go with a tradesmen recommended by someone close to you, it’s still not guaranteed that the job they have done is correct and worse still they may not even be qualified.


“However, regardless of whether they have done a good job in your friend or family members’ home, consumers are still unaware that checking a professionals credentials is vital before any work is carried out. While experience is valuable, it’s all about their professional qualifications and skills set. After all, each year we continue to see truly gifted, hardworking installers enter the industry – and their talent must not be overlooked because ‘Joe Bloggs who did Nan’s sink was really nice’.

“We are urging consumers to look for the WaterSafe logo and ask about qualifications All homeowners need to do is go to type in their postcode and they’ll find several approved plumbing businesses in their local area.”

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