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Review Light + Building 2012: Leading trade fair strengthens Zumtobel Group's business and customer relationships
23.04.2012

Once every two years Frankfurt becomes the international lighting industry's focus of attention, and last week was no exception. The Austrian Zumtobel Group lighting company is one of the biggest players in the professional lighting industry, and its presence at the flagship Light + Building trade fair which ended on Friday involved a total of six stands. CEO Harald Sommerer reckons the six days at the trade fair were well spent: "We're seeing that it's becoming increasingly difficult to differentiate oneself through products alone. The crucial success factors are application know-how and our networks with our customers and partners in the project and components business. These are precisely the strengths of our brands. We were delighted to see large numbers of customers at all our stands and have intensive discussions with them." In Frankfurt, the Zumtobel Group concentrated on energy-efficient solutions that were underpinned by an extensive LED product portfolio and intelligent lighting management. "The issue of energy efficiency remains an important growth driver in our sector. Even though we continue to be faced with difficult market conditions in new construction projects, we expect to see continued dynamic market growth in renovation business," adds Sommerer.

Zumtobel: experiencing light, imparting knowledge
Visitors to Zumtobel's 780 m2 stand had the opportunity to directly experience Zumtobel's design expertise in using light to set architecture centre stage. The stand was subdivided into a variety of application areas, and Zumtobel utilised it to demonstrate how an intelligently controlled, efficient lighting solution can respond to changes in its surroundings and users' needs. Besides new innovative products in the areas such as museum and façade lighting, emergency lighting and lighting control systems, Zumtobel's trade fair presence concentrated on imparting knowledge. More than 5,000 registered customers had the chance to familiarise themselves with the Zumtobel brand's impressive application know-how and innovative vitality during the course of numerous guided tours of its stand. In the context of a panel discussion, some 200 visitors were provided with information on globalisation trends and their impact on urban development and the use of buildings.

Light + Building was also a success for Zumtobel in terms of visitor numbers. Zumtobel actually managed to just exceed the large number of visitors to the trade fair in 2010 and established contact with many new customers. Apart from large numbers of visitors from German-speaking countries, the surprisingly large contingent from Scandinavian countries, Italy, France, Benelux, Russia and Eastern Europe was gratifying. Christian Warum, Zumtobel's European Sales Director, expects the brand to sustain its dynamic growth: "In Europe we continue to enjoy a good market environment and we intend to expand our market shares significantly in future. I expect orders to grow satisfactorily in the new financial year and anticipate more projects and larger projects. We also expect the investment we have made in expanding our sales team to start paying off."

Thorn: energy efficiency made easy
The Thorn brand is a performance supplier for professional outdoor and indoor lighting and its trade fair presence deliberately concentrated on the issue of energy efficiency. "Our aim was to explain to our customers how easy it is for them to install energy-efficient lighting solutions in collaboration with Thorn. Customers welcomed this approach with considerable enthusiasm. Our trade fair presence enabled us to significantly strengthen customer loyalty and we expect the trade fair to have a very positive impact on our project business," says Eladia Pulido, Thorn's European Sales Director.

In Frankfurt, Thorn presented a selection of highly efficient luminaires, including suitable lighting control systems, for street lighting, urban lighting and building lighting. The main communication tools at the stand were the large displays which employees used to explain different approaches to energy-efficient lighting solutions to customers. Visitor statistics reflected the Thorn brand's global presence: 50% of visitors came from Europe, including a welcome improvement in customer numbers in the German market, the other 50% were from countries such as China, India, South America and the Middle East.

Martin Brandt, who has responsibility for the Thorn brand on the Zumtobel Group's Management Board, thinks that the brand is on the right track: "We have made good progress at Thorn over the last two years; the brand is now correctly positioned, we have streamlined our product portfolio, and we have a highly capable sales team. We think we are now geared up to achieve profitable growth, and through Thorn we will be able to make our contribution to the Group's growth strategy."

Tridonic: positive customer response to innovation initiative
The Tridonic brand offering ballasts and lighting control systems launched its innovation initiative in the field of electronic ballasts as well as LEDs at Light + Building. With two new platforms for dimmable and non-dimmable electronic ballasts, Tridonic offers an extensive, competitive product range consisting of about 350 individual items that will be marketed in gradual stages by the end of 2012. In the LED field, Tridonic was also able to show a comprehensive product portfolio for general lighting consisting of LED modules and matching LED converters. In order to focus even more strongly on its core business in general lighting in the future, Tridonic will withdraw from commercial refrigeration lighting and transfer its LED signage business into a separate unit.

"All in all, we are happy with the trade fair. Customer feedback and acceptance of our new innovation initiative was positive and they see Tridonic as a dependable, competent partner for both conventional and LED lighting components. Overall, we sensed a positive mood among customers and are expecting stable market development,“ says Peter Novak, Tridonic's Sales Director.

The Tridonic brand was also able to celebrate a DALI award in Frankfurt. A sophisticated lighting solution for a university in Abu Dhabi in which more than 40,000 dimmable ballasts can be controlled via a control system achieved this distinction. In the field of lighting control, during the trade fair Tridonic also announced a new cooperation agreement with Schneider Electric, a leading lighting and building services management company. Both companies intend to cooperate more closely in future project business.

Ledon: energy-efficient LED lamps for consumers
The youngest brand in the Group, Ledon, also put in a great performance at Light + Building. In Frankfurt, Ledon presented an extensive product portfolio of energy-efficient LED lamps for use in residential settings and provided fresh impetus for innovation with new dimming functions, e.g. warmer light when a lamp is dimmed down. In parallel with the trade fair, a separate Ledon online store went live.

Managing Director Detlef Mikulsky was happy about recent business transactions with new commercial partners in Europe and very promising new customer contacts. He anticipates rapid growth in the company's LED lamp business: "We are anticipating a turning point. The price gap between energy-saving lamps and LED lamps has shrunk considerably in recent months, and consumers are increasingly prepared to pay higher prices for high quality, energy-efficient lamps."




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