This time last year, VEKA announced the biggest news in the industry when it acquired Bowater Building Products Ltd, its brands and ranges. Today, one year on, it is the industry's most powerful force, and the UK's largest manufacturer of PVC-U profile.
The VEKA UK Group is now comprised of VEKA plc, Network VEKA, VEKA Recycling, Halo, Bowater Doors, Bowater Architectural and Bowater Projects, and to mark one year since the acquisition, VEKA plc has opened its doors for editors to come and see for themselves the changes that have been made, hear from key members of the new team and put their questions forward.
Two businesses with strong brands, VEKA's choice to acquire Bowater Building Products wasn't altogether too difficult, as Colin Torley, Sales & Marketing Director explained: “The worldwide VEKA Group sees the UK as a key market and as VEKA continued to invest in its systems, people and plant, we saw ourselves in a position to demonstrate further commitment to the market with this acquisition. Bowater Building Products was selected due to its obvious synergies with the VEKA brand in not only terms of product quality and positioning, but also its ethos which is similar to that of VEKA.
Our multi-million pound investment has put The VEKA UK Group firmly in the UK's number one spot, and not only can we offer customers the stability of buying from a company that is still family owned, but our acquisition of Bowater Building Products sends out a clear message to the UK market that we are here to stay, and we will continue to invest in our future through our long term strategy.”
Most of the benefits of the coming together of the the two speak for themselves. The massively-widened product range means that from a single source, The VEKA UK Group can now offer more choice than any other, not just in PVC-U with the VEKA and Halo ranges but also in composite doors with Bowater Doors and even aluminium with Bowater Architectural. Add to this the completely unique and specialist partners, VEKA Recycling and Network VEKA, and it's clear what a formidable force this new group is. The breadth of offering at the supply end of the equation is also balanced with the added diversity of the group's customer base, giving a stronger representation in every sector, from major commercial to small-scale retrofit and everything in between. As The VEKA UK Group has already announced, one such benefit has been the unifying of the commercial sales teams to cover all brands. It's said that one single team will be responsible for presenting the entire range in a way that will simplify and clarify the entire process.
Colin Torley adds that “Since the acquisition, the team of Directors has been strengthened to five; VEKA MD Dave Jones, myself – the Sales and Marketing Director, Finance Director Graham Fitton, Director of Supply Chain Shane Gray and Bob Duckworth, who brings extensive experience in lean manufacturing and company integration to his role as Operations Director.” Collectively the team of Directors have have over 70 years industry experience.
So where is VEKA now?
Over the last year, The VEKA UK Group has not only emerged as the market leader in the UK, it is also the 3rd largest subsidiary of the wider VEKA Group, which in return is the world leader in the extrusion of PVC-U window profile.
The re-brand of WHS Halo to Halo and all doors as Bowater Doors is complete, a new powder feed system has been installed and work on a state-of-the-art mixing plant is underway at the Burnley site. It's not all about the Burnley site though, as all composite doors are now manufactured in Coventry and investment has also been made in to the Minworth site over the last year.
Colin Torley concludes: “It's fair to say that we have achieved a huge amount in the last 12 months, following the acquisition of Bowater Building Products Ltd and the esteemed Halo brand and I, for one, am looking forward to seeing what we can achieve in the year to come. Whilst the integration process has not been without its challenges, staff from all brands are working closely together and we have not lost a single customer since the acquisition. The last year has been a remarkable one for The VEKA UK Group – and the next 12 months are shaping up to be just as exciting.”