Lixil, owner of Grohe, American Standard, raves over Wilcon as perfect partner in PH construction boom
The country head of a Japanese conglomerate and global leader in housing and building materials was surprised that the Philippine construction boom has persisted despite forecast that was bound to lose steam years ago.
“A couple of years, we were thinking when will the construction industry decline. But surprisingly, we haven’t felt it at all,” said Alen Alban, country manager of bathroom firm Lixil Water Technology, a unit of Lixil Corp.
Lixil Corp. owns bathroom fixture brands Lixil, Grohe, American Standard and Inax.
“It’s very exciting, the Philippine market. Actually, it’s been growing very fast the past few years… So like last year, we have grown more than 30 percent as a company (here),” he said in an interview on the sidelines of the launch of Grohe electronics toilet and luxury shower system over the weekend.
“In the Philippines, we rapidly grew over the years. Since last year, we have grown eight times already. So that’s how fast we have grown the business with Wilcon, so they are really our perfect partners for retailing here in the Philippines,” added Alban.
Listed Wilcon Depot Inc., the country’s leading home improvement and construction supply retailer, is the exclusive distributor of Grohe in the Philippines. Grohe, headquartered in Germany, is Europe’s largest bathroom fixtures firm.
Wilcon Depot is currently in the middle of a massive store expansion to boost its earnings.
“For this year, we are going to open (branches) in Iloilo, Cabanatuan and Tacloban plus Zamboanga. We opened three already in Butuan, Bacolod and Cagayan de Oro. Next year, (we will open) another six stores,” said Rosemarie Bosch-Ong, Senior Executive Vice President-Chief Operating Officer at Wilcon Builders.
Bosch-Ong said the company spends about P150 million per store, excluding P30 million for inventory.
“Aside from store expansion, we’re expanding our categories as well and the product line and then continuous improvement in our service system,” she said.
Bosch-Ong identified growth potential categories as building materials and electrical products. (PNA)