According to a short company survey on their businesses and ambitions in the British market, the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union will not dampen the business plans of successful Slovenian exporters to the U.K.
Akrapovič company growing in the U.K. for three consecutive years
For Akrapovič, an internationally recognized manufacturer of exhaust systems, the British market presents one of the most important markets in Europe, and is also one of the world markets where the company first began its expansion. “Because of its history, the U.K. is considered the cradle of motoring, motorsports and motorcycling. It is a highly developed and mature market with demanding consumers. In the motoring industry, it’s worth mentioning our cooperation with Bentley, with whom we have developed and created exhaust systems for the Continental GT3-R, Continental Supersports and in Bentayga models in the last three years,” says a representative of the company that has been present in the British market since the early ‘90s. The British market accounts for 4 to 5 percent of the company’s annual sales, this year expected to reach 100 million euros.
The company emphasizes that in recent years they have experienced constant growth in the British market, and point out that their future plans involve maintaining strong relations with sales partners and preserving a well-developed sales network of exhaust systems for motorcycles and cars, and development of new products.
“A big opportunity for us is also the development of exhaust systems for newer car models, present in the British market, for which we do not yet offer products. We also wish to maintain strong ties with the racing world, mainly the British Superbikes series,” emphasized a company representative.
Among their main partners in the automotive field are the recognized racing brand Aston Martin Racing, and in the motorcycling field, Yamaha Motor Europe, Kawasaki Motors Europe and Honda Motor Europe, which has its headquarters in the U.K.
Trimo leaves its mark at Heathrow Airport
The Trimo Group, one of the leading European providers of building envelope solutions, facade and roof systems, steel constructions and modular space solutions, has been present in the U.K. market since 2001. Trimo’s solutions are used by Airbus, London Heathrow Airport, Nestle, Philips, DHL, Porsche, IKEA, Prologis, Mercedes-Benz, Coca-Cola and many others. Trimo also cooperates with recognized architecture studios, such as Foster + Partners and Mecanoo.
Trimo annually generates a revenue of over 100 million euros. In the coming years, it plans on strengthening its business in the U.K. market, while focusing on the residential market, for which Trimo has constructed solutions that are sustainable and energy-efficient and allow fast installation. The company, which generates 95 percent of its revenue abroad, also points out that all of their products are, of course, non-combustible. They market their solutions under their own brand in more than 60 countries across the world, and their sales network is directly present in 30 countries.
Slovenian expertise on the roofs of British homes
The British market is also considered one of the most important for the Slovenian manufacturer of high-quality photovoltaic modules and load-bearing constructions for solar power plants, the Bisol Group. The company generates approximately 3 percent of their entire 75.4 million annual sales in the U.K.
Dag Kralj, Member of the Board of Bisol, stated that the future looks promising. “The British photovoltaic market, like most Western European markets, is starting to focus more on the segment of small solar power plants on residential structures, increasingly emphasizing private use of energy produced in such a manner. With constantly decreasing prices of solar power plants and relatively high electricity prices in the U.K., there is increasingly less need for subsidizing of such structures, which makes the British market especially interesting and promises future growth,” stated Kralj.
This year Bisol is intensively expanding its distribution network in the British market, while integrating local knowledge together with its British partner, resulting in the development and introduction of an innovative method of integrated module installation. “It is this particular segment of integrated solutions for erection of solar power plants [so-called BIPV, building integrated PV], where solar panels are taking over the role of primary roofing, that is expected to experience the highest growth, and the British market, in particular, is one of the leading markets in this field. In this context, we also see a broader picture as the market for testing and development, which can then be used for our operation elsewhere across the world,” added Kralj. Bisol has also had its sales company in the U.K. since 2011.
Swatycomet – launched like a comet on the British market
The Slovenian company Swatycomet, one of the leading manufacturers of artificial abrasives and technical fabrics in Europe, has been present in the British market for 35 years. At the moment, the British market represents a 2.5 percent market share, whereas its future plans are even more ambitious, as it intends to increase its market share to 5 percent. When its new brand of abrasives, Metalynx, comes into play, recently launched with the intention of expanding into the British market.
“We have chosen the British market to launch our new Metalynx brand of abrasives because of how open it is, and because it suits our price positioning strategy,” says the Director-General of Swatycomet, Matjaž Merkan. “It’s also a market that, upon obtaining trust, offers long-term cooperation due to the loyalty of British consumers,” added Jani Škof, who is in charge of the British market at Swatycomet.
For the purpose of expansion in the British market, Swatycomet has also joined forces with a local partner, International Abrasives of Leicester, which will be the main distributor of Metalynx. “International Abrasives of Leicester is a rapidly growing specialist for abrasives with profound market awareness, with whom we get along very well,” Jani Škof added. Since 2015, Swatycomet has been a part of the Weiler Corporation, an American family business. Swatycomet sells its products in 80 countries across the world, and through various distribution partners generates over 3 million euros of sales in the British market.
TPV are establishing themselves as development providers for manufacturers in the automotive industry
The Slovenian TPV Group, which develops and produces components for the automotive industry, such as bodywork, chassis and components, car seat elements and motor sealants, has been present in the British market since 2008. Even though the idea of opening a production line was abandoned due to the result of the referendum on the U.K. exiting the EU, the company does not intend to leave the British market as it’s highly important for their exports – not just because of the presence of internationally recognized car brands, but also because of the potential for development.
“We supply automotive components to the British market, such as car seats and chassis for recognized brands like BMW, Mini, Rolls-Royce, Jaguar, Land Rover and Toyota,” stated a representative of the company, which has in recent years become established as an important development supplier for the world’s most recognized car manufacturing brands.
Last year the TPV Group reached almost 140 million euros in revenue. Half of its revenue is generated by sales to car manufacturing brands BMW, Daimler, Volvo, Jaguar and Volkswagen, whereas the other half is generated by sales to companies Brose, Bentler, Mahle, Faurecia, Magna and other direct suppliers to car and truck manufacturers.
The hotel where the British royal couple once stayed
The company Union Hotels, where the British royal couple stayed in 2008, hopes to see more British guests in the future. Union Hoteli combines four hotels in the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, and is also the largest conference center. These hotels are the Grand Hotel Union, Grand Hotel Union Business, Hotel Lev and the Central Hotel.
“Due to its regulated infrastructure and accessibility, Ljubljana presents the most important conference [MICE] destination in Slovenia. A large portion of meetings are held in our Grand Hotel Union, which is the largest conference hotel in the capital. We are aware of the significance and complexity of MICE guests; therefore we constantly strive to ensure the highest level of their satisfaction, which consequently results in their return. For us, the British market is one of the most important markets and we hope that their market operators get to know us better. With such intentions we create fresh, unique offers, adapted to the MICE segment, and we closely cooperate with the congress office and other congress providers in Ljubljana with whom we jointly build recognition of Ljubljana in the British market as a boutique, authentic and attractive destination for summits,” emphasized Tomo Čeh, Director-General of Union Hoteli. Each year the company attends the Meetings Show in London, and this year they had a successful presentation at a roadshow in Leeds and Manchester.