Kitchens & Bathrooms News visits steel enamel bath, basin and tray manufacturer Bette and finds out its ambitions for the UK retail market
Set in the heart of German asparagus farmland near Delbrück, is not the most obvious place for a large steel enamel factory. Yet, the greenery surrounding Bette’s 200,000sqm site reflects the company’s green ambitions. That may sound odd, as steel enamel products demand an energy-consuming process, but the company has two thermal power stations, which provide 25% of its electricity. Waste heat from the station is also fed back into the production line, with two thirds of the company’s required energy also coming from renewable sources. Head of marketing Sven Rensinghoff explains: “We have a philosophy to produce products as sustainably as possible.”
Its products are made on a 200,000sqm site, which boasts an 80,000 sqm production line. This allows Bette to have a large stock of products, ready for distribution throughout Europe and ensures Bette can prepare any bespoke product to for customers’ specifications.
And the company is continuing to develop steel enamel products. Bette has launched several new products this year, and updated other models, such as the BetteArt, to give more options in the bathroom including corner and back-to-wall baths. The ‘hero’ launch of the latest products is the BetteLux line, according to Sven Rensinghoff. The products show the company’s scope in terms of design as the new products including the Silhouette bath, have vertical sides, which Rensinghoff admits is very difficult to achieve in steel enamel products. All are available in the UK through distribution.
Ambitions for growth
And these products, plus its sustainable philosophy, have helped to give Bette a turnover of €76.7 million in 2013, which represented a 5.6% growth from the previous year. While it’s number one market is in Germany, Great Britain comes in at a respectable second. International sales director Ladislao Santamaria continues: “Of course, my ambition is, having been on board for one year, I want us to grow more than 6%. We still have a lot to do here. In my opinion [Bette’s] international share is quite low. The international side needs to recover, especially against the German side, which is quite strong and I would like to see double digit growth in the future.”
Sales and operations director for the UK, Samantha Wake believes retail is very important to achieve these ambitious aims: “The most important [market] for us, in terms of financially, is retail at the moment. It is our main focus.”
The complete article appeared in the combined July/August issue of Kitchens & Bathrooms News.