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Europe’s largest MRO firm, IPH Brammer, is reborn as Rubix

26 June, 2018

UPDATED: Europe’s largest supplier of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) products and services, IPH Brammer, has been renamed Rubix. The group was created last year when the venture capital firm Advent International, which already owned Brammer, bought the European industrial supplies distributor, IPH, and combined the businesses.

To tie in with the rebranding, the UK’s leading industrial supplies specialist, Brammer Buck & Hickman, has unveiled a new corporate identity designed to unify its brands and to create a simpler, bolder and more modern identity. 

Last year, Rubix (then IPH Brammer) had a turnover of more than €2.2bn. It currently operates from more than 650 locations across 23 countries, and has 8,000 employees and more than 220,000 customers. It distributes bearings, transmission and automation, fluid power, machining, assembly, tools and protective equipment, using brands including Giner, Julsa, Minetti, Montalpina, Novotech, Orexad, Robod, Syresa, Zitec and Biesheuvel Techniek, as well as Brammer Buck & Hickman.

“The launch of our new group brand marks the start of a whole new chapter for our business,” says the Rubix group’s Danish CEO, Martin Gaarn Thomsen, who joined the business in April. “We are a new company, with an agenda to transform our industry and provide innovative value-adding services and propositions for our customers. Our new brand encapsulates our ambition to help our customers in a smarter way and keep their businesses running smoothly.”

“The European industrial products distribution market is very fragmented," he adds, "and it offers both good growth and margin prospects. There is a real opportunity for us to provide value beyond the product to our customers. With an unparalleled network that puts us closer to the customers in every corner of Europe and technical specialists who have the skills and savviness to offer value-added services, we are creating a new company with a new way of doing things.”

Advent completed its purchase of Brammer plc in February last year, taking the business from public into private ownership, and paying £221.5m in cash for it. Brammer had warned in 2016 that it was having financial problems, and that it would take at least three years to turn the business around.

In September 2017, Advent acquired IPH from its previous owner, Paris-based PAI Partners, and merged the two operations.

Rubix CEO Martin Gaarn Thomsen: The start of a new chapter

Brammer Buck & Hickman describes itself as Europe’s leading distributor of industrial maintenance, repair and overhaul products and services. In the UK, it operates from 49 sales and service centres. It was formed in 2011 when Brammer merged with Buck & Hickman, a supplier of tools and health and safety products.

“The rebrand of our parent group, Rubix, seemed the ideal time to roll out the rebrand of Brammer Buck & Hickman,” says its CEO, Mark Dixon. “We’re pleased to be able to incorporate the Rubix brand name into our new logo – the name signifies problem solving and aligns with the creative and human approach we adopt when providing solutions for our customers.”

“The new Brammer Buck & Hickman logo is not just a change of symbol,” he adds. “It is a symbol of the changes that have taken place at Brammer Buck & Hickman. We’re evolving at a fast pace to ensure that we’re offering customers the very best products, best lead-times and best pricing... By simplifying our logo, we hope to reinforce the brand in the minds of our customers.”

Brammer was established in 1920 in Leeds in the UK, and grew through a combination of organic growth and acquisition. By 2016, it had a strong presence in the UK, German, French, Spanish and Benelux markets, and was generating more than €0.9bn in revenues. But it was then hit by lower demand from commodity customers and by the effects of low oil prices. The company issued a profits warning, and its share price halved.

•   Rubix, whose headquarters are in London, has been ranked 27th in the 2018 Sunday Times HSBC Top Track 100, which ranks Britain’s 100 largest private companies in order of sales.

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