Our MD Russell Yates has been talking to Glass News magazine about our market performance this year and looking ahead to 2020.
In a market which was down overall, AluK has certainly outperformed in 2019, with growth of around 15%, an increase in market share and a number of new fabricators coming on board with us.
We’ve strengthened our position in the trade sector thanks to a mix of exciting new products and impressive service levels, and achieved similarly impressive growth in the commercial market where we’re winning substantial amounts of new work via our project teams and in partnership with fabricators.
It should be a really positive outlook then, apart from the obvious fact that so much of the industry is waiting for the results of the General Election and some kind of resolution of the Brexit impasse.
Clearly, consumer confidence remains fairly weak which is having a dampening effect on the trade market, and there are lots of investment decisions currently on hold in the commercial sector as well.
However, as soon as there is a clear direction of travel around Brexit, then we are likely to see a surge in activity. Indeed, there is strong evidence amongst many of our customers that they are already gearing up for an increase in capacity in aluminium. Many of the machinery suppliers are reporting record sales, with fabricators taking the positive view that they will need to be ready to cope with pent up demand when it does finally come.
AluK is well placed to help our customers take advantage of that. As part of the Valfidus group, we have the resources we need to be able to continue to invest and we have the operational infrastructure in the UK which will ensure that we can keep pace with big increases in volumes.
2020 presents lots of opportunities for the whole industry but plenty of challenges as well. The skills shortage has been well documented, but a surge in demand triggered by any kind of Brexit boom could potentially lead to some material shortages as well, which would inevitably impact on prices and costs. As ever then, cashflow will be a critical factor in navigating any boom and businesses across the fenestration supply chain will need to ensure that, like AluK, they are agile and well funded enough to be able to flex their capacity in the months and years ahead
You can read Russell’s comments alongside those of other leading figures in the industry in the December issue of the magazine.