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Wyko name is set to disappear by Spring

20 September, 2007

One of the best-known names in the British industrial scene, Wyko, will disappear next Spring, when it adopts the name of its Dutch owner, Eriks, which bought Wyko for Ł139m last November.

Eriks says that the combined organisation is now the industrial equipment distribution market-leader in Western and Central Europe, with sales worth €850m and nearly 4,500 members of staff – almost half of them coming from the Wyko acqusition. The UK now represents about 40% of Eriks’ business.

Rein Groot

Eriks’ managing director in the Netherlands Rein Groot (above) believes that there is potential for the UK operation to grow by about 25% a year – well above the 10–15% growth target for the group as a whole. This will be achieved by a combination of acquisitions and expanding the business into areas where Eriks is already strong, but Wyko has traditionally had limited involvement. For example, he sees potential to expand Wyko’s OEM activities, alongside its traditional MRO (maintenance, repair and overhaul) business.

There are also many items among Erik’s product portfolio of more than 500,000 lines, which Wyko has not sold before. "Wyko has a limited range of products compared to Eriks," says Groot. "There is scope for growth."

His aim is to place Wyko among the top three companies in each of eight core activities including: electrical and mechanical engineering services; power transmissions; tools and maintenance products; sealing technology; and industrial plastics.

In its first UK acquisition since Wyko, Eriks recently bought the bespoke hose and fittings supplier, Flexible Hose Supplies, for an undisclosed sum. FHS, with three UK sites, employs 45 people and has annual sales worth Ł5.1m.

Earlier this month, Eriks launched a new UK division, Eriks Sealing Technology, which combines Wyko’s seals business with Eriks’ own seals activities. At present, the new operation has around 4% of the UK’s fragmented seals market, but the aim is to boost this to 10% by 2010 – representing a turnover of some Ł25m. To help reach this goal, Eriks is investing an initial Ł500,000 in a sealing technology centre in Warrington, and plans to double the new division’s staff to around 80 people.

Groot says that further UK acquisitions are likely. The company has already earmarked five possible targets in the sealing sector alone.

The change in name from Wyko to Eriks will be accompanied by a substantial publicity campaign under the banner "the Big Plus". All of Wyko’s service centres and workshops will be re-designed and re-branded by the time the name change occurs in March.

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