Italian CNC milling and routing machine manufacturers Intermac have decided to set up their own operation in the UK, splitting with Ebor, their agents of the past 14 years.
Ebor say they sold Intermac glass and stone machinery worth Â£2omillion over the years.
They started selling the units into the stone market in 1996 and gave Intermac market leadership by selling more than 60 into the UK and Ireland.
Ebor director Steve Boocock says he went to Italy on 29 January for what he thought was a routine meeting and had the bombshell dropped on him that he would be losing the brand that accounted for more than 40% of his turnover.
"It\'s like war. When it\'s declared everyone is depressed. Then everyone puts in 110% to win," he says, pointing Out that only one of Ebor\'s people has been successfully recruited by Intermac.
And Boocock adds that sales of the machines themselves accounted for only about 30% of Ebor\'s turnover, the rest coming from spares and maintenance work, which will continue. Ebor will also continue to supply tools. "We will still be looking after our customers," he says.
After Ebor had received the news that they were losing the Intermac agency they went out to look for a new supplier of CNC machines and signed a deal with Breton, already a well known and respected name in the UK.
"Breton will appeal to a discerning level of business," says Boocock. "It is the Rolls Royce of the Industry The quality of the equipment is superb."
But he adds: "Breton have made a massive, massive effort on prices. I think all in all it\'s going to work out very well."
The move by Intermac follows closely on the heels of a similar move by Italians CMS, who bought into British company Rye last year and started selling their Brembana CNC stoneworking milling machines through Rye in January this year, depriving Pisani of the agency they had been sharing with AJ Lopez for six months.
For Pisani, CNC machines represented only a small part of their business and they decided to pull out of that part of the market because they felt it had become too competitive, which they believe can only lead to falling prices.
It was partly as a result of the CMS move that Intermac decided to set up their own operation in the UK. Because competitors had their own direct operations, Intermac felt they had to have theirs. "This is a vital decision," says Roberto Bergamini, sales manager.
"We will concentrate only on our machines. We feel a focused organisation can be closer to the customer than an organisation dealing with seven or eight machines and also other interests."
Intermac have boring and edge polishing machines in their glass range that compete with other ranges sold by Ebor.
"Every time a supplier decides to invest into a market this brings benefit to the market. All our customers understand this," says Bergamini.
"It will give us the maximum degree of efficiency and flexibility because, for example, we could decide to promote, with particular sales conditions, products just as an investment for further development. Once we have decided our sales policy it will be implemented immediately and effectively"
Intermac have recruited one of Ebor\'s salesmen, Gary Nicholls, from the glass side of the business to head sales of glass and stone machines in the UK They have also recruited Richard Land from Intermac sister company Biessi, who sell woodworking machines, as glass and stone machinery salesman for the south of England.
The Biessi managing director in the UK is Trevor Bullen, who will also head the Intermac operation. Intermac expect to employ their own staff of eight-to-ten people. Biessi have premises in Weatherby and Daventry and Intermac want to be in the Leeds area.
Intermac hope to be up and running within a few months and in the meantime are asking customers to contact them in Italy