Paolo Merloni: “Getting listed on the stock exchange not on our agenda, though it may strengthen us”. Turnover increases. Plans for green energy.
Ariston Thermo invests in Turkey and looks to close 2012 with a higher turnover while further boosting its research and development activities. “Turkey is one of the world’s emerging economies and is thus of great interest to the group. Though its GDP growth fell significantly from last year’s 8.9% increase, the country boasts 70 million inhabitants with a young average age – around 30 years – and a strong growth potential in terms of internal consumption. Moreover, Turkey is a reference country for the Middle-East and a gateway towards many markets in that region" commented the group’s Chairman, Paolo Merloni.
The Marches-based company, specialised in thermic comfort solutions (water heating and indoor heating systems), expanded significantly overseas during the 1990s, by setting up 19 production sites in ten countries and 47 commercial companies in 30 countries, meaning that 87% of its turnover is now generated outside of Italy. “The weight of Turkey has increased – above all thanks to the heating market – such that, in 2011, the country was the group’s second-largest market for the Ariston brand for wall-hung boilers,” explained Mr. Merloni.
This development should continue thanks to plans by the Turkish government to renew obsolete housing and revitalise the construction sector. “For this reason, in Turkey – as in other markets – we are investing in our reference brand, Ariston, through an extensive advertising campaign based on billposting, newspaper advertisements and Web promotion,” commented Paolo Merloni. At a global level, Ariston should post increased revenues in 2012: “We recorded our best ever performance in 2011, with a turnover of 1.25 billion Euro. We have tripled our growth in ten years. We expect to close the year with growing figures once again".
In the future, our strategies will focus on both the old European markets as well as on the emerging markets, with innovative and high-tech products. “Ariston is among the leaders for thermic comfort solutions in the most rapidly growing markets such as China, India, Russia and Vietnam, though we are not neglecting Europe: we are strong in Switzerland and Germany with the Elco brand, and in the Mediterranean and French-speaking countries with the Ariston and Chaffoteaux brands. The latest operation, in 2011, was the acquisition of Swiss companies Cipag and Domotec, which enabled us to gain the leadership in the domestic water heating sector and strengthen our position in the Swiss market, where we are already leaders in the heating sector. In Italy we are increasing our shares regardless of the shrinking market” said Mr. Merloni.
Ariston has not planned any further acquisition, though it intends to grow “internally as well as externally, even in Europe, if a suitable opportunity arises,” said Mr. Merloni.
In 2013 the group intends to boost its investments in research and development (which already rose in 2012 from the 55 million of 2011), so as to create solutions capable of guaranteeing the same level of thermic comfort while reducing energy consumption. “Our aim is to have, by 2020, 80% of our business coming from high efficiency products and renewable solutions, in line with the targets and deadlines set forth in the EU Commission Plan for reducing CO2 emissions by 20% and enhancing the use of energy from renewable sources,” commented Mr. Merloni. The group’s efforts are geared towards developing solutions that implement renewable energy sources. Are you thinking about getting listed on the stock exchange? “We do not feel the need for a stock exchange listing, though it may strengthen us. It may well be an option for the future, however it is not on our agenda at the moment,” replied Mr. Merloni.
Interview with Paolo Merloni written by Viviana Vestrucci. Corriere Economia 26th November, 2012, pag. 14