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Saturday, November 3, 2007

Sunrise aligns its marque

The 50-year-old Dornbracht name is expecting an eight per cent annual growth on the back of greater worldwide appreciation for premium products, says Andreas (inset)

Dornbracht. Villeroy & Boch. Zeyko. While these names might sound alien to most of us, they certainly are not to those accustomed to fine living. And even less to owners of the high-end luxury condominiums in Kuala Lumpur's Mont' Kiara Integrated Global Village.

In fact, since 2000, the first two aforementioned brands have been incorporated as standard specifications in their homes, used in projects such as the 230-unit Mont' Kiara Damai, 345-unit Mont' Kiara Aman and 336-unit Eleven @ Mont' Kiara.

Dornbracht is regarded as a world market leader in faucet and accessories as is Villeroy & Boch (V&B), which since 1748 has been producing sanitary ware, tableware and ceramic tiles.

To give an understanding of the prestige value and commitment to quality of both brands, their sole distributor for Malaysia, GC Building Technologies (M) Sdn Bhd (GCBT) together with developer of Mont' Kiara, publiclisted Sunrise Bhd, recently flew selected members of the media and some of its purchasers to Germany to visit their factories.

Although a worldwide brand and with a 2006 turnover of 193 million (RM930 million), the Dornbracht factory in the city of Iserlohn, some 220km north of Frankfurt, is the company's only manufacturing facility, producing taps for bathrooms and kitchens that dispense what it describes as "the spirit of water".


"All our products are 100 per cent made here in Germany," said Andreas Dornbracht, grandson of Aloys F. Dornbracht who founded the family-owned company 50 years ago.

"This is to ensure every item that carries our logo is made to the highest standards."

With 800 employees, he pointed out that the company has today moved up the ranks and is the "leader in the premium segment of the faucet and accessories industry", with an annual turnover constituting a third of the total global value.

"We're not looking to make fashion statements, but products with long-lasting aesthetics and timeless appeal," said Andreas.

"Good style never goes out of fashion."

Dornbracht's products are specified in many five- and sixstar hotels around the world including the opulent Burj Dubai Hotel, and have been garlanded with a host of accolades such as the Good Design Award in 2001 by the Chicago Athenaeum of the United States and the Asia Pacific Brand Laureatte Award in 2006.

Because Sunrise recognises that the bathroom is one space where good and lasting impressions must be made, it has also specified made-in-Germany V&B sanitary ware in some of its projects.

Based in the hamlet of Mettlach, some 340km southwest of Iserlohn, this label with a 260-year heritage manufactures some 12 full design collections comprising water closets, wash basins, bidets and bathtubs.

Of the group's 2006 turnover of 963 million (RM4.62 billion), more than 489 million (RM2.35 billion) or 50 per cent was generated by the division it calls "bathroom and wellness".

It does not fear erosion of future sales despite the opening of China, which has lowered manufacturing costs and shut down operations in many countries.

In fact, V&B said it is still seeing "high growth potential" even in China, where the company is "consistently strengthening its position".

"Our share of foreign business has risen 71 per cent during the last 10 years," it said. Lultwin Gisbert von Boch- Galthau, former chairman of V&B and direct descendant of the Villeroy-Boch family who met the Malaysian contingent at the company's Saareck Castle guesthouse, explained that the growth is coming through the company's focus on creating concepts, not products.

"Creativity is our forte," he said, adding that the success the company is enjoying is possible because of the marque's rich history, reputation, artistry and significance.

Another German label carried by GCBT that Sunrise is considering aligning itself to is Zeyko, a relatively young manufacturer of high-end kitchens.

Although still at the contemplative stage, the 37-year-old company with a turnover of 21 million (RM101 million) has attributes such as attention to detail and innovative designs that could see its kitchen systems being installed in future Sunrise projects.

Already, through GCBT, they can be found in the other super-luxury Duta Villa project in KL�s Bukit Tunku enclave.

Situated in Monchweiler in the famed German Black Forest 270km from Mettlach, the company describes itself as being different from others as it "uses a high percentage of handcraft which guarantees unique pieces of furniture and the very best finish".

Sunrise's Mont' Kiara project has evolved over the past 18 years to become a soughtafter address by both affluent locals and expatriates who collectively make up a daytime population of 15,000.

Winner of both local and international awards for its development efforts, its current mission is to build on its name in order to move to drive the brand to greater heights.

Among the ways it intends to do this is by "walking the talk" and aligning itself with internationally recognised and respected labels known for their "culture, design innovations and firm commitment to quality".

By New Straits Times (By Andrew Wong)

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