Fox Marble Holdings PLC (LON:FOX) Chief Executive Officer Chris Gilbert caught up with DirectorsTalk for an exclusive interview to discuss their order completion to Turkey, the size of the orders, new customers and their new factory and how it’s impacting on the business.
Q1: We’ve just seen the announcement that you’ve completed delivery of over 2,000 tonnes to Simsekler, is this an increased order?
A1: Well, Simsekler started their relationship with us last year and their initial order was 2,000 tonnes and that’s what they said they wanted. What this order does is this exceeds the original 2,000 tonne order now, so they have now ordered more than they originally ordered and what’s happening now is that they’re going to continue to take this material through the rest of this year. So, I would say that by the end of this year, they will have taken twice as much material as what they originally ordered in the first instance in the spring of last year.
Q2: Are they taking any different material from the original order?
A2: They are, encouragingly the reason I think that it’s more than it originally intended to be was that on top of the silver grey, the Selene, that they seem to be using by the bucket load, they’ve come back, and they’ve taken the Alexandrian White from us in significant quantities, hundreds of tonnes.
On top of that, they have asked us for a sample block of each of our darker grey, the Grigio Argento which is the stuff we used in Chelsea Creek here in London amongst other places, and Breccia which is very vividly-coloured marble and very encouraging for us, a block of our red Rosso Cait. That is the first time that our red has gone into Turkey so obviously for us, that’s an expansion of our original relationship with them.
So, we expect our wider range of marble to be stuff that we’ll be selling to them in the future.
Q3: Just looking at the larger picture, are you gaining new customers?
A3: We are, the order book is filling up, not just with repeat orders from existing customers of whom we now have numbers through multiple jurisdictions but very encouragingly our customer base is growing quite significantly.
We are seeing more people coming in, on the back of I think penetration of our materials so the regions where our material is doing well for example, in India we’re seeing more and more customers coming to us. I think this month we’ve got two new customers, large companies in India that are visiting the quarry to inspect blocks and starting to select blocks for purchase and we’re seeing that from Italy which is obviously a big marble centre as well as North America and again, that’s very encouraging for us.
Q4: Looking at the new factory, is that fully operational now and how is it impacting on the business?
A4: It is, the factory is now fully functional, fully operational, battle-ready and operating very successfully. In fact, I should have said earlier when you referred to acquiring new customers, that’s one of the reasons why we’re getting new customers, we’re getting new customers that are coming to us for cut-size material as well as slabs which we’re now processing around the clock in our factory.
The latest machine that we installed, the 5-axis CNC machine from GMM in Italy which processes slab marble into tiles and into processed and transformed material, that’s now fully booked until 1st August and when I say fully booked that means it’s operational everyday 7 days a week churning out the material we’re making in our own factory to fulfil these orders.
I think that’s a large part of our customer expansion, we’re addressing a constituency of customers that wouldn’t buy block marble because they don’t own gang saws and they don’t have their own factories, but they want this material for jobs or projects that they’re either the developer or the installer or indeed the agent, the middle man for. That is driving the growth that I referred to, yes.