I managed to have a few words with Martin Naughton, owner of the Glen Dimplex Group, on Friday; he had plenty to say and it’s a shame that the column inches stopped me from covering more of his quotes (I’ll probably post them up here during the week).
Here’s the resulting article from the Sunday Business Post (link here):
Martin Naughton, the owner of electrical appliance giant Glen Dimplex, says the companyâ€™s annual turnover will reach â‚¬2 billion for the first time in the coming months as it continues to dominate the global electrical heating appliance industry.
Glen Dimplex, which was set up in 1973, employs 2,500 people in Ireland; it has factories in Louth, Kerry, Armagh and Down.
â€˜â€˜Weâ€™ve grown 20 per cent per year since inception, and weâ€™ve been profitable every year since we started, which means that every five years we double our size,â€ Naughton, one of the countryâ€™s richest businessmen, told The Sunday Business Post.
â€˜â€˜But to keep growing weâ€™ve got to work hard every single day, we canâ€™t lie back. Weâ€™ve got to keep doing it better, doing it smarter and changing as the wind changes,â€ said Naughton, who was at Griffith College in Dublin on Friday where he received an honorary fellowship.
The company employs another 6,000 people worldwide and has operations in Britain, Germany, France, Holland, Hungary, Canada and Scandinavia.
Dimplex moved into the Chinese market in 2002, setting up a joint venture company to manufacturer storage heaters.
Naughton is the sole shareholder of Glen Dimplex, having paid more than â‚¬200 million several years ago for the 26 per cent stake held by his former business partner, Dublin businessman Lochlann Quinn.
Naughton believes expansion into the Asian market is a vital part of the companyâ€™s future success.
â€˜â€˜This is the Asian century; Asia is a major growth area for us,â€ he said. â€˜â€˜One of our fastest growing markets is Japan. Weâ€™re shipping a lot of consumer products made in Ireland to Japan, which would have seemed impossible before.
â€˜â€˜In Britain we have 90 per cent market share. Weâ€™re brand leader in France, and have 65 per cent of the market in Germany, so we have to look beyond Europe now. Eastern Europe is an opportunity and Russia is growing very fast for us.
â€˜â€˜To survive in all kinds of businesses dealing in consumer products you have to be a global player or else youâ€™re not in the business.â€
Naughton said that, in the last month, Glen Dimplex had shipped 10,000 heaters from Irish factories to Shanghai alone.
In the Irish market he sees energy efficiency as becoming increasingly important.
â€˜â€˜The biggest growth area that we have in Ireland is renewables such as energy saving devices and energy efficient devices – that trend is global too,â€ he said.
â€˜â€˜Everyone is concerned about the environment and it is not government down, it is people up. There is a genuine concern that something is not right and we have to do something about it. A lot of people just want to do their bit and feel good about it.â€
Accounts filed earlier this year showed turnover at Glen Electric, a subsidiary of Glen Dimplex based in the North, at almost â‚¬1billion in the year to the end of March 2005. Glen Electric accounts for about two-thirds of the groupâ€™s sales.
The Northern company made a pre-tax profit of â‚¬47.7 million. Glen Dimplex, the groupâ€™s overall parent which is incorporated in the Republic, is an unlimited company and is not required to file public accounts.