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Bonfiglioli gears up for growth

01 March, 2006

Bonfiglioli gears up for growth

Bonfiglioli, the Redditch-based power transmission supplier, has revealed ambitious plans to expand its UK business. Mike McCann, managing director of Bonfiglioli`s industrial business - who joined the company last year from Sumitomo, where he was European MD - has revamped the company`s distribution arrangements and is aiming for 12% of growth during 2006, up from the £4m of sales achieved last year.

According to McCann, Bonfiglioli has about a 20% share of the UK gears market, placing it on a par with Lenze and just behind SEW Eurodrive. He is confident that he can boost this.

Until 2002, Bonfiglioli was represented exclusively in the UK by Amir Power Transmissions (APT). The Italian gear-maker then set up in own direct sales operation, and UK business was shared between the two companies. But, according to McCann, the division of the market was not clear and the fragmented strategy produced poor results.

Following McCann`s appointment, he has implemented a new strategy, with APT handling end-users and distributors, and Bonfiglioli dealing directly with OEMs.

McCann is targeting key markets including packaging, materials handling, pumps, and agriculture. He points out that the UK`s £150m gears market is Europe`s fourth largest and is still "buoyant". He plans to capitalise on Bonfiglioli`s installed base of end-users, as well as moving into new areas such as servo drives.

Bonfiglioli also has several new ranges in the pipeline, including a family of heavy-duty gearboxes rated up to 160kNm, a new generation of bevel and helical-bevel boxes, an improved range of own-brand motors, and a family of "smart" variable speed drives produced by its German subsidiary, Vectron.

McCann reports that there is still a downward pressure on prices of gearbox products in the UK. Bonfiglioli`s large manufacturing capacity means that "we can be competitive," he adds, "but we don`t give the product away."

As well as serving the industrial sector, Bonfiglioli is also the UK`s largest supplier of gearboxes for mobile applications. This business, based in Warrington, has grown 25% over the past two years. MD John Adair (shown above, left, with Mike McCann) is also targeting a 12% growth rate this year, to reach sales of around £17m, and reports that sales in January this year were already 33% up on 2005.

Bonfiglioli is Europe`s largest supplier of worm gears and gear-motors, and the second-largest supplier of planetary gears and motors. It is Italy`s largest gear-maker with a 31.2% share of the country`s €900m output - more than twice that of its nearest rival. In recent years, the company has been expanding into new areas through acquisitions, such Vectron in 2002, and the Italian precision planetary gear-maker Tecnoingranaggi last year.

Bonfiglioli produces more than 4,000 gearboxes a day and has plants in Italy, Slovakia and India. The group`s sales last year were worth around €400m, making it one of the world`s five largest gear-makers.

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