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WEG will become UK number two in 2004, predicts MD

01 July, 2003

WEG will become UK number two in 2004, predicts MD

WEG Electric Motors will overtake ABB to become the UK`s second-largest supplier of low-voltage motors during 2004, predicts the company`s managing director, David Ede. He reports that the Brazilian-owned company, which set up its UK operation in 1997, has already captured about 10% of the UK market and is continuing to double in sales every two years, despite the harsh economic climate.

Last year WEG invoiced orders worth £6.2m. Talking exclusively to Drives & Controls, Ede said he expects sales to reach around £9m this year, and £12m during 2004. In part, this growth is being achieved by gaining market shares from rivals, especially the market-leader Brook Crompton, which has suffered from delivery and other problems since moving production to Poland last year. Some former Brook Compton customers are now buying their motors from WEG, but Ede reckons that just 10-15% of WEG`s business is coming from ex-Brook customers.

The other factor driving WEG`s growth is its expansion into new markets, such as inverters and soft-starts. There are other items in WEG`s global portfolio - such as controlgear and generators - that are not being sold in the UK yet, and could help to drive its expansion further. "To keep doubling in the foreseeable future is not unrealistic," says Ede.

WEG is already running out of space at its Redditch site which it occupied less than two years ago, and is taking on extra space elsewhere in the town to accommodate its stock of more than 22,000 motors, worth around £2m.

In another boost for its business, WEG has just signed a distribution deal with Taylor & Goodman, one of the UK`s largest independent motor and controls specialists, with nine branches. According to Ede, WEG wants to work closely with distribution and support partners that can offer extra services, to help it keep pace with its expansion. "Taylor & Goodman is precisely this type of business, encompassing knowledge of other specialist areas, such as pumps and HV systems," he adds.

For Taylor & Goodman, it was not only WEG`s broad motors portfolio that helped to clinch the deal. "Importantly, WEG`s equally wide range of drives and soft-start products was attractive to us, as this represents the fastest growing are of our business," says it Stephen Doyle, T&G`s sales and marketing manager (shown above, right, with David Ede, left).

David Ede predicts that, in future, just three or four motor manufacturers will account for 80% of the UK motors market. He believes that suppliers will need to offer a comprehensive range of motors and complementary products - such as Ex, smoke extraction and brake motors - to succeed in the UK.

He expects WEG to move into areas such as panel-building and motor control centres "within a few years", and says that he is also looking at selling other items made by WEG, including contactors and overload relays. He is less certain about bringing in products such as generators and transformers.

Ede is also optimistic about WEG`s prospects in the high and medium voltage motors markets which it started to tackle "in earnest" last year. He expects to capture 20-30% of this £25m business within two to three years.

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