Flooring magazine speaks to Bruce MacLaren, Managing Director at QEP, and discusses recent acquisitions, new distribution news and the company’s ever-expanding range of new products and more….

Welcome to Flooring magazine and tell our readers a bit about QEP; your role within the company and a general overview of the organisation?

QEP is a large USA based Company involved in flooring & flooring accessories around the globe. The QEP brand of tools is renowned within the ceramic tiling market & we are the proud owners of the Roberts brand of carpet & vinyl flooring accessories. We also manufacture & distribute flooring around the world including well-known brands such as Amtico & Pro Tile in Australia.

QEP has existed in Australia & New Zealand for over 20 years now & has grown both organically & through acquisitions through that period. Over that period we have acquired a number of distribution business to create Australian Flooring Supplies (AFS) operating throughout the Eastern Seaboard with 22 Trade Centre locations.

I understand that there have been some recent acquisitions? Can you expand on these in some detail please?

Our most recent acquisition is that of PR Floors, a long standing distributor of flooring & accessories throughout Queensland & our Roberts distributor partner for over 20 years. The Perrett family is very well known in the flooring industry & after 41 years resolved that in moving on they wanted to find a buyer who would best respect the background & values they have created & we are very pleased that was QEP. Since completing this acquisition in April, the operation has been branded as AFS to enable us to provide consistent branding & messaging & the transition has been relatively seamless given our existing AFS team & their expertise.

Any new distribution news happening now or in the pipeline?

Our next exciting chapter starts in September when AFS launches into the market Kronotex, one of the world’s leading European laminate ranges. The range is extensive & has been refined with the manufacturer (Swiss Krono) over the last 6 months in preparation to meet the demands of the Australian market, including 10 ranges covering 7.0mm through to 12.0mm in thickness, water resistant capabilities & a variety of sizes & structures.

It is a truly comprehensive offer, of the highest quality standard & something which we already know will be well received by the Australian market.

QEP is rapidly expanding. Please comment on the growth of the company.

Whilst QEP is a publicly listed business in the USA, the founding family maintain the majority shareholding & are closely involved in the business daily. As such the strategic aim has been to grow consistently throughout the 40 years of its existence & this is one of the clear objectives provided to me by the Board. As a result we continue to seek opportunities that will provide value to our shareholders both through new product & also acquisition.

I have been at QEP for nearly 14 years & truly appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit encouraged & this is something we aim to bring to our customers here in Australia & New Zealand through new opportunities. Locally we now employ 130 staff, operate in all States through 25 warehouse locations & intend to continue this solid growth path in the years ahead.

There are always new products being launched at QEP, and from my understanding, there are a few more product launches in the works. Fill our readers in on some exciting product news please.

In addition to the Kronotex laminate launch we have recently introduced 6 new carpet tile ranges in our ProTile offering as this market continues to grow. We have an offer that is focussed on holding significant stock levels to service high volume & immediate trade needs whilst meeting all the latest trends including plank & hexagonal shaped tiles.

Alongside that, our LVT offer is also about to increase with the launch of our new expanded Hanwood ranges in “Urban Collective” – a collection of 2.5mm concrete look tiles and earthy timber look planks, lending itself to modern urban interior spaces. Additionally, the “Paragon” collection consists of a hardwearing 4.5mm luxury vinyl plank with sophisticated ultra-realistic embossed finishes. We are incredibly excited to be delivering fresh contemporary products to the market and growing our Hanwood brand in the process.