Upmarket cooker-maker Aga Rangemaster has agreed a potentially lucrative deal with a Chinese distributor opening it up to a giant new market.
The Leamington firm, which also has operations in Telford, has reached agreement with one of China’s biggest gas burner technology companies Zhongshan Vatti Gas Appliance Stock Co.
The deal means both companies will be allowed to distribute each other’s products in their respective territories, building on their individual product and brand strengths.
A market for western style ovens in China is starting to develop and the deal, timed to coincide with the beginning of the Olympics, will give Aga an opportunity to sell in a market where “Britishness” is popular – as exhibited by Jaguar Land Rover’s success.
Under the agreement, Vatti will distribute the Aga Rangemaster brands, Aga TC, La Cornue and Rangemaster in China.
Vatti plans to open a dedicated store in Beijing for Aga TC and La Cornue.
Distribution of Rangemaster products will then start with the stated aim of creating 500 displays of Rangemaster cookers in Vatti’s new dealer concept stores over the next two years.
William McGrath, chief executive of Aga Rangemaster, said: “Aga – the greatest cooker of them all – will lead our brands in showing Chinese consumers the range and flexibility of our brands.
“Today’s signing is an important moment in the internationalisation plans we have for Aga Rangemaster. Aga TC, Rangemaster and La Cornue have the authenticity, cachet and quality to support Vatti distribution plans and in due course we hope to add Vatti built-in products to our Rangemaster and Falcon lines to complement our ranges in Europe.”
Vatti is a leading gas burner technology company and is developing its range of built-in ovens.
Aga will work with Vatti on this development programme with the objective of distributing these products in the UK and Europe.
However, Aga said the agreement was not expected to have a material financial impact in the near term.
Mr Huang Qijun, chief executive of Vatti, said: “Our research suggests the Aga Rangemaster brands will connect with the Chinese consumer, and we are delighted to be bringing them to China.
“The range cooker can move into the heart of the Chinese home, as it serves traditional Chinese, as well as introducing new cooking styles.
“We are also delighted that the evolving Vatti product range will be distributed in Europe.
“This is the beginning of an important relationship for us and we look forward to working with Aga Rangemaster going forward.”