In fact, their are several issues regarding this product, basically they are at a strategic point trying to re-think production to make the whole investment viable. Some of the European companies which use Breton Block technology are in deep crisis and fighting for survival. In the last few years Breton has sold more slab production lines than block production lines, nevertheless the block production lines produced in the last few years most of them were installed in China.
In Europe the main cultured marble producers that use Breton technology are:
- Quarella - Italy
They have created a product which uses the block technology, it's an evolution series which has given the product a greater superficial hardness. The Evo series was launched last year, and is a strategic solution for the decrease in market share in the cultured marble sector.
- Rover - Italy
- Marmol Compac - Spain
Anyway, Marmol Compac has bought land near Baza, southern part of Spain to install a new Breton Block plant. Nevertheless the current crisis on engineered marble has slowed or literaly stopped that project.
Marmol Compac has survived thanks to the engineered quartz plant, if it was not for that I believe that they would no longer exist, or maintain a major producer status. They have shifted most of their excess personnel from Spain (engineered marble plant) to Portugal (engineered quartz plant). They've dedicated most of their resources in the last few years promoting and developing engineered quartz products, leaving the engineered marble in stand-by waiting for better days to return. In a lunch meeting a few weeks ago, a friend told me that they have recongnized that the engineered marble has been left behind, and 2011 they'll be dedicating more resources to the engineered marble products. So I guess we may have some new engineered marble products in 2011.
- Santa Margherita - Italy
- Agglonord - Italy
- RMC- Portugal
Why is cultured stone loosing market share?
- Chinese competition
- New products with competitive price
- Similar textures with more resistance
- Colour trend
Most companies have tried make a pure white colour, which you can easily find in Chinese producers, but have little traffic resistance. The solution for this type of products would be hardening the surface and making more resistant material, I guess maybe Quarella is on the right track, the rest should just follow and innovate on the way.