Impra’s marketing strapline “We care for wood” tells its own story. For the full chapter and verse Fencing & Landscaping News caught up with the timber treatment company’s Sales & Marketing Director, Martin Green.
Impra is a brand name for RÜTGERS Organics GmbH and is part of the ICIG group of companies, a chemical and pharmaceutical precursor and finished products group dealing in global markets with over 6000 employees worldwide and a £2 billion plus annual turnover.
Martin commented: “Founded in 1877 by Dr. Carl Weyl under the name “Chemische Fabrik Lindenhof C. Weyl” in Mannheim, Germany, we are a company with a long tradition. Since 1997, we’ve been trading under the name of RÜTGERS Organics and focus on the protection and the design of wood both indoors and outdoors.
“RÜTGERS Organics Group, purchased by ICIG in 2005, has around 100 staff and operates out of two locations in Europe. The headquarters are located in Mannheim, Germany with a second production facility at Barrow in Furness in Cumbria.
“We trade in the majority of countries throughout Europe as Impra Wood Protection producing and selling high performance wood protection and coating products,” added Martin.
In the UK Impra supplies a broad range of clients with wood treatment products but has also developed a flourishing market for its coatings range.
“We have a complete range of fully approved products for both high and low pressure treatments as well has having an extensive range of dipped products giving our clients a very wide choice. Within our product portfolio we have a wide range of colours that can be used with our pressure or dipped products.
“We also have the ability to provide colours that outlast traditional timber colourings giving a longevity of colour that end users have been requesting for some time.
“Our clients are increasingly asking for different ranges and types of colour and we can combine these within both our high and low pressure range as well as within our dipping range.
“The UK is playing catch-up with Europe in terms of using colour and fences that used to be brown or green are now springing up in a multitude of colours.
“It is probably being led by the composites market which is continually introducing different shades. We can now match those colours for our clients and because we also have a coatings business we are now showing clients how we can incorporate the two. Many clients now use both our high pressure treatment and our coatings in conjunction with each other,” he added.
When it comes to Impra’s existing products, TSK40 is helping to drive Impra’s growth this year.
Martin went on “A metal-free product, it’s designed for use above ground and has generated huge interest. It is a colourless liquid allowing it to work particularly well with our colour range and we can now get colours to last up to two years while standard colours only last a month or two.
“TSK40 is a real all-rounder. It can be applied by high-pressure, low-pressure, dipping, spraying or brushing – you name it and it can be used. It is fully approved within the UK by the HSE and is a real force to be reckoned with, with relatively low retentions. We are already seeing an increase in volumes, particularly in the UK but also in Germany and the Benelux countries.”
Turning to current business performance and the challenges posed by Brexit, Martin is clear.
“Business has started well for us in 2019 and at the half way stage of the year we are happy with the results. The UK market has been a little volatile with certain market sectors doing very well and other sectors less well due I’d imagine to the uncertainty of Brexit.
“Having a plant in Barrow-in-Furness in the UK is a definite advantage. We have the ability to produce the full Impra range in both plants. We have increased stocks and gained assurances from our raw materials suppliers to ensure future supplies aren’t affected now and, in the future, should there be a no deal Brexit.
“The impact is already being felt in the way they are having to deal with the BPR (Biocidal Products Register) and Brexit is making a long process even longer. Knowing when you will get the ultimate decision on approvals is impossible to forecast but we are fully utilising the HSE in the UK and other competent authorities throughout Europe to ensure we are covered. All of our wood treatment products are fully approved by the HSE so there will be no adverse effect on their use by our clients due to Brexit.
“Our own ability as a business to manage change competently and easily allows us to direct our sales teams to work in the most productive areas with little fuss and change. This ensures we are as productive as possible and able to mitigate the impact of any headwinds,” added Martin.
That simple, yet crystal clear strapline “we care for wood” really does sum up the operations of a business set for a colourful future.