Lighting manufacturers embark on year-end expansion efforts
April 14, 2009 - 12:00pm

Lighting companies have been busy in 2008, forging new business strategies through mergers and partnerships.

Firme di Vetro, the Italian lighting consortium that includes the brands I Tre, Murano Due, Aureliano Toso, Gallery Vetri d’Arte, Alt Lucialternative and Luxit, has further expanded its portfolio with the recent acquisition of Leucos.

The buyout grants Firme di Vetro more inroads into the lucrative North American market, which contributed to more than half of Leucos’ business in 2007. As with Firme di Vetro’s acquisition of Luxit in 2007, the parent company intends to allow Leucos to retain its autonomy and corporate identity.

“Getting into the U.S. market and, particularly, getting in touch with American designers and contractors, is very difficult,” says Giampaolo Ristits, CEO of Firme di Vetro. “Now we can make it—thanks to Leucos, which will remain independent in its design and workability.”

Ristits says his company is planning at least two other transactions in the next 12 months.

“The buyout of Leucos is decisive for the whole group, but it won’t be the only one of this year,” he explains. “The lighting sector offers good chances [for] investors, with a mass of small-but-expert manufacturers.”

In California, Permlight Products Inc. has entered into a strategic partnership with Progress Lighting to replace most of its Enbryten line of LED fixtures with Progress Lighting’s Everlume brand. This transition coincides with Permlight’s recent launch of its Brillia LED division.

“We launched Brillia to really focus our sales, marketing and support efforts on the world-class lighting companies that are looking for some help to get into the market with LED-based light fixtures,” says Michael Keddington, co-CEO of Permlight.

With the new alliance, Permlight and its new Brillia LED division have essentially withdrawn from the business of crafting luminaires; instead, the firm will now focus on delivering efficient LED light engines for use in specialty fixtures manufactured by Progress Lighting and other strategic partners.

“Recently it’s become clear to us that all the major lighting companies, and some very innovative smaller companies, have decided that LED-based light fixtures make sense,” says Keddington. “The timing’s good, [and] you’re getting enough light and enough quality of light out of them that this is becoming more viable, even for the residential market.”

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