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KBzine: the original kitchen and bathroom industry e-newssince 2002
4th September 2015


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Please note that you are viewing an archived issue of The KBzine.

International News

Microwave oven market expected to reach $25.4 Billion by 2020

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According to a new report: 'World Microwave Oven-Market Opportunities and Forecasts, 2014 - 2020', the global microwave oven market is expected to generate revenue of $25.4 billion by 2020, growing at a Compound Annual Growth Rate of 6.07% during the forecast period, 2015 - 2020.

Amica appoints Origo as distributor for Ireland

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Amica household appliances has announced that Dublin based Origo, a leading consumer appliance distributor for Ireland, is to distribute the Amica brand in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

Into the fold - new showerwall from Merlyn

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Stepping into Merlyn's showerwall fold is the new 8 Series Folding Showerwall. The ingenious folding mechanism allows you to fold the shower wall back so that it's horizontally flush against the wall - perfect for smaller bathrooms.

New Combi-Steam oven combines microwave speed with conventional heat and steam

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The engineers at V-Zug have launched an oven which combines the speed of a microwave with conventional heat and steam.

Phoenix Bathrooms added to EQ software package

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Phoenix Bathrooms' products are now available on the EQ Software system, thus providing all EQ users with the ability to access the full range of Phoenix bathroom and heating products in digital format via the software package.

Joint venture for design experts

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The Society of British and International Design (SBID) will be teaming up with The International Interior Design Association (IIDA) in their first ever joint programme at Downtown Design, Dubai UAE.

Abode launches the very cool and contemporary Cyclo Collection

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Abode is constantly looking to innovate with exciting new designs and fresh ideas and as a result, is delighted to present Cyclo... A cool, contemporary range of bathroom brassware which is bursting with personality.

WC additions maximise on style, comfort and hygiene in the bathroom

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Responding to the changing demands of modern bathroom design head on, Roca has extended two of its best-selling sanitaryware ranges to include new WCs - the Nexo wall-hung rimless and The Gap comfort height WC.

Smeg reveals new Burghley range cooker specifically for independents

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Smeg has unveiled its most accessible range cooker yet, combining traditional design with modern convenience. Developed specially for independent retailers, the Burghley represents an attractive introduction to the Smeg brand for consumers.

Leisure Sinks spa filter tap keeps water crystal clear

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Proving popular with contractors and retailers alike, Leisure Sinks' Spa Filter tap (TSA1CM/BF) is a high quality, WRAS-approved dual lever tap. Boasting a smooth chrome finish, this stylish tap utilises a three-way dispenser system to provide crystal clear filtered water, as well as hot and mains cold water.

Turning bathroom design inside out

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The BetteLUXE Shape is the latest addition to the Ripples portfolio. "We are seeing a huge trend for 'urban styling' when it comes to the bathroom and this new range fits in perfectly," says the company's Grazziella Pinto.

"Contemporary and cool, we absolutely love it!"

Limited mobility graphics now available in ArtiCad

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CAD software specialist for the KBB sector, ArtiCAD, has announced the availability of a comprehensive catalogue of limited mobility graphics.

BAL Level Max - the new maximum performance, all-in-one leveller that's easy on the pocket!

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With innovative Fibre Strand Technology, bed depths up to 80mm in a single application and suitable for use over most bases including timber at 3mm, BAL Level Max levelling compound is the latest innovation from BAL.

Abacus Manufacturing Group provides durable and sleek solutions for department store washrooms

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Heavy use meant that both the male and female public toilets within York's Browns department store were in urgent need of refurbishment. Bathroom expert, Abacus Manufacturing Group, was asked to provide a durable and functional solution while creating modern facilities that would remain fresh and clean for years despite the high footfall.

Schmidt combines classic and contemporary style with its new handless Arcos collection

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In line with the ongoing trend for clean lines in the kitchen, Schmidt has introduced a handless range to the popular Arcos collection. Available in 16 matt colours, 12 wood effects and six high gloss finishes, this versatile range is the perfect choice for both traditional and modern schemes.

A pearl of an idea...

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Glass-inspiration Austria is now offering a lustrous Mother of Pearl finish, sandwiched between laminated safety glass, as an alternative to tiles and splashbacks.

Welcome to the



I’ve enjoyed an interesting trip this week to the IFA exhibition in Berlin, which has traditionally been seen as an electronics fair but which is now attracting increasing numbers of exhibitors from the kitchen appliances sector. That doesn’t surprise me, as with the incredible technology now being incorporated into many new appliances, they are becoming less like the ‘ordinary household appliances’ that cater for our basic needs and more like communications hubs/personal assistants, chefs, hygiene officers, personal shoppers (and I won’t go on, but I’m sure that if you keep up to date with the technology, you’ll know what I mean – and if you don’t, you can read all about it in these pages over the coming weeks)!

I joined a group of international journalists who were treated to an in-depth look at lots of beautifully designed and incredibly ‘intelligent’ new products from the growing portfolio of brands under the Whirlpool Corporation’s umbrella, which are marketed in more than 170 countries.

But of course the question on everyone’s lips was: “What’s happening about Aga Rangemaster?”

We’d all thought that the £129.2 million takeover of iconic British brand Aga Rangemaster, by Middleby Corporation, was all done and dusted (see aga_rangemaster_sold_to_us_kitchen_products_specialist) and about to complete, but Whirlpool has come in with a last minute cash offer which, we were told, is under consideration. And although Whirlpool wasn’t sharing information on the offer it has made, the word in the City is that it would have to have been at least 10% higher than the Middleby offer to have even been considered – and Aga Rangemaster shares have risen sharply as a result.

Whirlpool is meeting with the company’s shareholders on 8thSeptember and a deadline for a final decision to be made, has been set for 14th September. Meanwhile, Aga Rangemaster is continuing to push the Middleby deal through, to ensure that market confidence remains high.

Exciting times, eh? We’ll be bringing you more on this breaking news in next week’s issue of KBzine...



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Jan Hobbs



This Week's News

Quadra from MHS Radiators provides practical perfection

* Quadra.jpgMHS Radiators has introduced the visually stunning Quadra to its inspirational collection of designer towel rails.

An opulent combination of form and function, Quadra encompasses a rigid structure to provide practical storage space and shelves for towels, as well as impressive levels of heat for the bathroom.

Busy first half of year & continued optimism for UK trade professionals

* andrew-livingston.jpgUK tradesmen and women remain optimistic for the next 12 months following a busy first half of the year, according to multi-channel retailer, Screwfix.

The majority (85%) of plumbers, electricians, builders, carpenters and other tradesmen questioned in the latest Trade Pulse report, say they expect business to remain at the same level or to improve over the next 12 months, with more than a third currently busier than expected and nearly half saying business is now, at this time, better than it was 12 months ago.

Amica up again! UK contributes most dynamic growth - up 50%

* Amica-Matt-black.jpgIn 2014, Amica Group grew its sales revenue up 22% year on year to PLN (Polish Zloty) 2,028,295,000. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization) and profitability have grown in line with the main increases in revenue recorded in the home market of Poland, along with Germany and in the markets of southern Europe.

The UK contributed some of the most dynamic growth up more than 50% over the same period.

Popularity poll reveals cream is king for Retro refrigerators

* Nation's-Favourite-Retro.jpgGorenje has recently surveyed its social communities to reveal the nation's favourite coloured Retro refrigerator.

The results are in and the Cream Retro has been revealed as the most popular by far, with a staggering 38% of the votes, followed by Baby Blue at 24% and Fiery Red at 6%.

Abode Marino: a striking contemporary design

* Abode-Marino.jpgAbode has launched a portfolio of eight new tap ranges including Marino, a collection of beautifully designed basin and bath taps.

The Marino family has a striking contemporary design suitable for all bathroom styles with its distinctive long lever handle making one-handed operation effortless. The tall, square shaped design of Marino products with radiused edges will give all bathrooms an interior design look and feel.

Subbies continue to finance the multi-million pound players

Specialist contractors are propping up the UK's cash strapped construction industry and financing growth by acting as trade creditors to the large main contractors.

According to StreetwiseSubbie, a professional services organisation founded to support and advise specialist contractors, the financial landscape for UK subbies remains bleak. Not because of lack of work, but because certain main contractors find every way possible to delay payments, and pay less than is owed, simply to free up their own cash flow.

Burbidge hosts hand-crafted 'Premium Partner' event

* BURBIDGE-Hosting.jpgRenowned kitchen manufacturer, Burbidge, enjoyed high success at its recently-held annual Premium Partner retailer day.

To commence proceedings, Burbidge Premium Partners were given an exclusive glimpse of Burbidge's new product prototypes, along with an overview of the newly-launched 'The Bathroom Furniture Co.' and a tour of the showroom.

Soapbox: CIPD calls for balance in debate on zero hours contracts

Gerwyn Davies, labour market adviser at the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development, writes in response to yesterday's Office for National Statistics report on zero-hours contracts, which have shown a modest increase:

"The latest ONS statistics suggest that there has been a further modest increase in the number of people on zero-hours contracts and a growing proportion of people on zero-hours contracts for more than a year. However, it is important that the debate about zero-hours contracts is a balanced one, recognising that when managed well, these contracts can benefit both employers and workers.

Barwick appoints new managing director Gary Campbell

* Gary-Campbell.jpgLeading independent bathroom distributor Barwick tells us it is pleased to announce the appointment of Gary Campbell to the role of managing director.

This position has been created as existing joint managing directors, John & Michael Barwick, both move to the position of joint chairman.

Utopia promotes Chris Jones

* Chris-Jones.jpgAfter six highly successful years as Utopia's business development manager for the Midlands region, Chris Jones has been promoted to the position of key accounts manager.

Introducing BAL Tank-it - the ultimate waterproofing system for all applications

* Tank-it.jpgSuitable for internal or external waterproofing, BAL Tank-it is the new, ultimate tanking system formulated with innovative technology from the UK's market-leader in tiling solutions. Highly polymer-modified, the two-part, rapid-setting product provides complete protection and can be tiled after only 90 minutes - and, since no priming is required, it produces significant time and cost savings on key installations for tilers and contractors.

Ladder Association launches 2015 Ladder Exchange

* idiots-on-ladders-winners.jpgThe Ladder Association has launched this year's Ladder Exchange, which will run from 1st September to 31st December. Established by the Health & Safety Executive in 2007 - and now run and managed by the industry trade body - the campaign has already resulted in thousands of 'dodgy' ladders being taken out of service.

The Ladder Exchange allows users to exchange old and/or defective ladders for safe new ones - at a discount - at any of the scheme's participating partners located throughout the UK. It also champions safe ladder use and the need to inspect and maintain ladders at regular intervals in accordance with the regulations.

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How to contact us at The KBzine:
Jan Hobbs
Publishing Editor
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1372 811 307 
Mobile: 07980 288 373





John Austen
Publishing Director
Email:[email protected]
Tel: +44 (0)1580 755 863
Mobile: 07766 707 888
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Kitchens International appoints two new showroom managers

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Independent kitchen designer and retailer Kitchens International has appointed two new managers for its designer showrooms. Helen Taylor becomes showroom manager for the Glasgow showroom and Donna Smith is manager for Perth.

A new communications role at the iKBBI

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It's a warm welcome from us to the Institute of Kitchen, Bedroom & Bathroom Installers' new communications manager, Denise Mayell.

PWS appoints new sales manager for East Anglia

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Jamie Abbott is the latest recruit to join PWS's national sales team. Jamie takes on the role of area sales manager for the East Anglia region, bringing with him over 15 years' experience in the kitchen industry.

National training manger focuses on Laufen brand

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The Roca Group has made a key appointment with Richard Court, previously an area sales manager, now taking on the role of national training manger looking after the Laufen brand.

Victoria + Albert Baths appoints general manager of MENAT, Caspian and India

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Victoria + Albert Baths, a British brand with a worldwide reputation for creating beautiful freestanding contemporary and traditional Quarrycast baths and basins, has announced the appointment of Ross Jackson as general manager of MENAT (Middle East, North Africa & Turkey), Caspian and India.


Victoria + Albert Baths launches International Design Awards competition

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Victoria + Albert Baths has announced its debut International Design Awards, in celebration of its upcoming 20th anniversary.

Showroom sales incentive offers chance to bag an all-expenses-paid trip to New York

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Ideal Standardhas introduced an online retailer sales incentive programme called IdealCLUB. Run from a dynamic online portal that rewards retailers in real time, the scheme has been designed to increase motivation and incentivise sales in showrooms through educating and engaging showroom staff, increasing product awareness and knowledge and encouraging brand loyalty.

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