The Lightfair International, the world’s largest annual architectural and commercial lighting trade show and conference, occurred at Philadelphia's Pennsylvania Convention Center between May 19- 23
We have to go back a long way to find such a quantity of corporate upheavals in the history of the US lighting industry, as today. There are essentially two guidelines: more powerful gathering of brands in the consumer lighting market on the one hand, and alliances among professional lighting and intelligent controls on the other hand.
Nowadays, the scenario of the consumer lighting segment is characterized by the purchase of Kichler Lighting by Masco, and the development of the Visual Comfort Group, since January 2018. Overall turnover is approximately 400 million USD, including residential (55%), hospitality, retail (35%) and residential outdoor lighting (10%). The Visual Comfort Group goes to market with a simplified and focused collection of brands to include Visual Comfort & Co., Tech Lighting and Generation Lighting. Visual Comfort & Co., will continue to pursue its premium decorative lighting collections in collaboration with the industry’s most influential design talent. Tech Lighting will expand its product line to include the best of the LBL Lighting collection and launch its extensive assortment in the company’s expanded showroom at the Dallas Market Center. Generation Lighting has been created to unify the company’s strong offering of the industry’s best popular-priced lighting and fan collections, which includes: Show House Collection by Feiss, Home Solutions Collection by Sea Gull Lighting and the Monte Carlo Fan Collection. New products include Gyroshift by CSL (adjustable downlights and cylinders, 750-1400-2200 lumens, designed for spaces that require precise lighting, such as restaurant, hotels or retail stores). Murray Feiss, the flagship brand, sells grand chandeliers, casual fixtures, bathroom lights with coordinated bath hardware, outdoor lighting, lamps, wall brackets, mirrors, and decorative accessories.
WEDDING AND DIVORCES
Weddings and divorces among lighting and electronics companies include the spin-offs of Eaton Lighting and Current, the growth of the Leviton Lighting and Legrand groups, the sales of Sylvania to Wesco and Amerlux to Delta Electronics, respectively, and new perspectives for Cree and Osram.
Eaton Lighting continued to invest in intelligent products and software, such as EphesusTM wireless LED control systems for sporting and industrial environments. Eaton spinoff of its lighting division during 2019 has been announced.
GE is now selling Current to American Industrial Partners (AIP), a New York-based private equity firm, consenting to let Current using the GE brand under a licensing agreement. The North American consumer lighting business of GE Lighting is not included as part of the proposed transaction. Notably, more than 75% of the new indoor and outdoor products are digitally enabled, so customers can continue adding new sensors and apps that will help transform their buildings into intelligent environments.
Leviton, a manufacturer of electrical wiring devices, networking connectivity solutions, energy management controls, automation, has an estimated turnover of 1.6 billion USD. The Leviton Lighting Business Unit (established in April 2017, estimated turnover of 160 million USD) provides professional lighting and wireless control solutions. The portfolio consists of five brands under the Leviton umbrella: Birchwood (linear lighting), ConTech (recessed lighting, pendants), Intellect (controls), JCC (UK based, high-bays, downlights, LED panels), and Intense (track luminaires). In January 2019, Leviton announced the development of two new devices for homeowners to control their lamps, small appliances and other electronics – the Decora Smart Wi-Fi In-Wall Receptacle and the Decora Smart Z-Wave Plus In-Wall Receptacle.
In 2017, Legrand pursued its strategy of acquisitions making six external growth operations with companies operating in complementary segments driven by megatrends. These included specification-grade architectural lighting solutions for non-residential buildings in the U.S. with the acquisitions of OCL Architectural Lighting, Pinnacle, Kenall and Finelite. OCL is specialized in architectural lighting solutions for commercial and high-end residential buildings in the United States and reports annual sales of about USD 15 million. Finelite, a US front-runner in linear specification-grade lighting fixtures for non-residential buildings, has annual sales of approximately USD 200 million. Pinnacle is a manufacturer of lighting fixtures for offices, educational spaces, hospitals, hotels, and retail spaces. The company has its manufacturing facility in Denver, with approximately 250 workers.
Cree recorded a turnover of USD 1,586 million in 2018, with an 11% growth coming from the Wolfspeed business unit, enforced through the acquisition of assets from Infineon Technologies in March 2018. Sales of lighting fixtures and lamps declined from USD 603 to 542 million (-10%). In March 2019, Cree announces the agreement to sell its Lighting Products business unit (‘Cree Lighting’), which includes the LED lighting fixtures, lamps, and corporate lighting solutions business for commercial, industrial and consumer applications, to Ideal Industries, Inc. for approximately USD 310 million.
In January 2019, Osram found a buyer for its Sylvania Lighting Solutions (SLS) group, its North American services unit which had sales last year of around USD 100 million. SLS will become part of the Wesco Services LLC subsidiary. As part of its digital services push, in December 2018 Osram unleashed Lightelligence, its scheme for tying LED lights into the Internet via hardware and software including cloud and data connectivity. In one recent example of a US smart lighting services job, Osram teamed with Boston-based software company Rifiniti to connect Osram sensors embedded in third-party office luminaires to Rifiniti analytics, in order to optimize commercial office space, using Osram’s Encelium light management system.
BUT THE MARKET IS TURNING DOWN
Despite great upheavals, the market is flat. Overall, during the last year, imports from North America increased by 9.8%, while imports from Asia Pacific declined by -0.7%. Imports from Taiwan and Hong Kong are declining, even at a faster rate than China. India mainly, but also the Philippines and Cambodia, are somewhat growing. Germany is the main supplier of lighting fixtures from Europe. Suppliers on the growth are: Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, and Spain. US imports of lighting fixtures from Europe are stable (on the five-year period 2014-2018) and they are worth around EUR 500 million.