Al-Murad Tiles has acquired all intellectual property including up to 5,000 tile designs, the website and customer and trade portfolio of BCT Tiles, which went into administration in January.
Asif Badat, Al-Murad’s Operations Manager, told Tilezine that the acquisition gives his company an important new strength and source of diversification at a time when Al-Murad is still looking for growth in ceramics, despite the current downturn in retailing.
Al-Murad is also hopeful of being able to offer employment to significant numbers of former BCT employees, and may even open an office in Devon in addition to the existing site in Huddersfield, in view of the importance of the tile manufacturer in the county.
“This opportunity has come along at a very good time for us, as it fits very well with our strategic development plans,” says Asif Badat. “Our business has always been based on retail and we have doubled our turnover during the last ten years, and our aim is still to grow to 100 shops. However retail has undoubtedly experienced a downturn recently, while we are still looking for growth as a business. We have a wholesale division, but we have been limited in who we can sell to. Now with the large number of new designs from BCT as well as our combined 150 years experience at our disposal, we are confident that we can grow in the business to business sector. Builders merchants, for instance, will become an important new distribution channel for us. We have already had a huge response from house builders, builders merchants and interior designers.”
Asif Badat says that BCT was known for its very good design work, which is why Al-Murad was interested in acquiring the designs, but it is acknowledged that product quality was not consistently high.
However Al-Murad plans to maintain the BCT brand, together with its many sub-brands. To ensure high product quality in the future, a large number of the new designs from the company will be brought to market as porcelain, rather than ceramic tiles.
“We are certainly going to keep on going with the ceramics, but we believe we can offer the market improved product quality and a stronger tile by manufacturing many of our new products in porcelain in the future,” says Asif Badat. “The latest inkjet technology enables manufacturers to translate designs on to porcelain without problem and the price to the consumer is similar, so it’s a win win situation and also has a broader application.”
The first that many people will notice from the new ownership is a revamped BCT website, which will go live in the next two weeks. This is backed up by 24-hour delivery through Al-Murad’s existing distribution network.
“This is certainly an exciting time for our company,” says Asif Badat, “and we welcome expressions of interest from anybody who wants to get involved and help us with this exciting next stage of our growth.”
Picture shows: Company director Ismail along with his father MR Murad, who founded Al-Murad in 1984.