Ideal Standard investing £100m across the business to develop cutting-edge products

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 3 Apr 2017

Ideal Standard International has confirmed it will plough £100m into the business over the next three years – its biggest investment in a decade.

The company said some of the cash would be spent enhancing product innovation at the company's Hull site.

Founded as the National Radiator Company, Ideal Standard has been in the city since 1936.

Now headquartered in Belgium, the privately-owned firm employs almost 9,500 people, including 270 in Hull where the UK arm of the business is headed up.

Torsten Türling, chief executive of Ideal Standard International, said the move "represents a milestone in the evolution of our company".

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He said: "Our path forward is clear: making significant investments in growth, focusing on the needs of our professional customers and driving innovation through connected intelligence.

"I am also grateful for the trust and support from our investors, who are as confident as we are in our future and have provided additional funding to grow the company."

Ideal Standard International operates 18 manufacturing sites, serving more than 60 countries across Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

The company this week announced sales for 2016 had reached 739m Euros (£634.3m).

It says the £100m investment over the next three years will focus on three core areas, namely manufacturing technology and production capacity; product innovation; and customer service, "with a particular emphasis on digital tools like Building Information Modeling".

Mr Türling said: "Ultimately for us it's all about delivering value for our customers."

The foundations of the firm were laid in 1905 when the National Radiator Company opened its foundry in west Hull.

The road to the site was named National Avenue in recognition of the business, which by 1911 employed more than 1,000 people.

In 1936, the company opened a ceramics plant in the city to make vitreous china bathroom fittings.

By the 1950s, production of radiators had ended and the company focused on bathroom products.

In 2015, the company was involved in creating the 1.5m-wide moths for the A Moth For Amy exhibition.

Constant innovation has helped Ideal Standard remain at the cutting edge of the bathroom industry, with products like the single-lever tap, the rimless toilet and the ultra-flat shower tray pioneered by the company in Hull.

Recent innovations include its Aquablade flush technology, the Intellimix touch-free tap, which dispenses soap and water from a single device, and a splash-free basin designed with healthcare settings in mind.

Mr Türling said: "We're investing heavily in new products and ways of working, with a full pipeline of innovation ahead."

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