10 January, 2023
The ceramics industry is not having the best time of late. The rise in costs for energy, raw materials and a lack of governmental assistance have had a significant impact on the sector. However, the Castellón firm the APE Grupo has decided to step up and execute its investment plan outlined for the start of the year. In total, the tile retailing company invested almost €8 million in 2022. This budget was aimed at expanding its facilities, developing digital transformation projects and improving its machinery.
In this regard, the expansion of the showroom in Castellón, premises for supplying material and a site at the logistics centre of Onda (Castellón) constituted the majority of the APE Grupo’s expenditure in the last financial year.
The most significant investment, exceeding €3.4 million, was used to expand the company’s logistics infrastructure with the purchase of industrial premises and the acquisition of adjoining sites. In 2023, these sites will be adapted to receive, store and manage transportation of the ceramic and bathroom products the APE Grupo markets.
The tile firm has set aside more than €2 million for expanding its showroom. The exhibition space spans 1,000 square metres and not only does it showcase its products, but it also generates ceramic-based experiences. One of the most important new features is Gravity, a suspended space with 270º projection. This technological innovation is accompanied by a specific area for culinary demonstrations. In addition, it includes a zone where visitors can explore ceramic trends with the APE Grupo’s design team.
Part of the investment has been allocated to improving the firm’s existing facilities. A Quality Room has been created, along with new offices in the logistics centre, and the staff changing rooms have been refurbished.
The APE Grupo is also committed to solar energy. Based in Castellón, Spain, the environmentally conscious company has introduced improvements to reduce its environmental impact and help ensure a sustainable future. After receiving several awards for its endeavours in this area, the tile retailer has expanded the solar panel installation that it established in 2021 to power its Castellón offices and reduce the use of other energies in its logistics centre, with this investment totalling almost €200,000.
Lastly, expenditure on IT equipment and processes, as well as new machinery, totalled close to €230,000. With this item, the Castellón company aims to strengthen its digital transformation.
In addition to these investments, the APE Grupo has opened a sales branch in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), which is already operational, joining those in Perth (Australia), Béziers (France), Moscow (Russia), Sassuolo (Italy), Portlaoise (Ireland) and Burgas (Bulgaria). Thanks to the work carried out on its brands – APE, Carmen, XLINING and IlBagno – as the result of an expansion strategy, the Group is now present in 125 countries.
With his sights set on the new financial year, the CEO of the APE Grupo is feeling inspired and hopeful about the year ahead. José Miguel Pellicer has said that, barring a disaster, the Group will maintain the approximately 150 job posts it currently has throughout 2023. This is great news for a key sector: it represents 18.7% of the industrial GDP of the Valencian Community and amounts to more than 22% of the total GDP for the Province of Castellón; and that, however, in 2022 almost 9,000 ceramics workers were affected by a temporary workforce reduction or adjustment plan, according to data obtained from the Directorate General for Employment of the Generalitat Valenciana.