LONDON, March 8 Britain's AGA Rangemaster Group
PLC is hoping it can lure more Americans and Chinese to
buy its upmarket cookers, as fewer house moves in Britain led to
a fall in sales in 2012.
AGA's cast-iron cookers are renowned for their appeal to
farming communities in Britain and affluent urban customers, and
the firm says it counts veteran rock star Paul McCartney and
French actor Gerard Depardieu among its following of 'AGA
But a slow down in the number of people moving house or
making home improvements in recession-weary Britain has hit
sales, and AGA is seeking revenues from further afield.
"The objective now is to spread the word about range
cooking...that's something we will be beating the drum for not
only in the UK but in international markets as well," AGA's
Chief Executive William McGrath told Reuters on Friday.
Despite a 2.5 percent slip in revenues in 2012, AGA's pretax
profits rose to 8.4 million pounds ($12.6 million) from 7.5
million a year earlier as the firm said it closed some retail
outlets to concentrate on larger showrooms.
The company, which also sells refrigerators under the Marvel
brand and Fired Earth tiles, currently generates 37 percent of
its sales from outside Britain, and is aiming to increase that
to 50 percent.
It is working with Chinese manufacturer Vatti to launch its
products in China, and also has a foothold in North America,
which it sees as its fastest growing market in 2013.
"So far this year we have seen a slow January and a positive
February. There is a notable pick up against last year for AGA
Marvel in North America and for Fired Earth," it said.
McGrath said that the AGA cooker had now become a
factory-finished product, rather than built into the home, and
could be switched on and off, making it more flexible.
"If AGA can be not just a British product, but if we can
make it into a global product, that is really where the
opportunity for the group as an investment hinges," McGrath
AGA on Friday reported revenues in the year to end-Dec of
244.6 million pounds, compared to 250.9 million pounds in 2011.
The company said it was not recommending a final dividend,
having paid 1.9 pence in 2011.