Shipleys LLP

Chartered Accountants and Professional Business Advisers

Kusch & Co

Kusch & Co is a third generation family-owned German furniture manufacturer founded in 1939 by Ernst Kusch. Now run by his granddaughter Ricarda Kusch, the company operates in 36 countries around the world in three key market sectors – commercial interiors, transportation and healthcare. From its two factories in Hallenburg, Germany, the company designs and makes tables and seating for everything from restaurants, offices and auditoriums, to airports, ferries, hotels, hospitals and nursing homes.

High quality design and functionality

The UK subsidiary, which has been run by Carl Abeydeera for the past ten years, primarily focuses on the commercial interiors and transport markets. The company’s motto, coined by Ernst, continues to be ‘quality is irreplaceable’. Carl explains that this principle applies to all areas of the business – products, management and the environment. “We are renowned for our design and quality, and work with a number of well-known international designers, including the Porsche Design Studio.”

Although the company has customers from all over the country, Carl says 80% of its UK business comes from within the M25. “We are very successful in the finance, law and digital marketing sectors. Some of our biggest customers are in accountancy – our furniture is in all of the ‘Big Four’s’ offices. We are in several of the big law firms and banks such as JP Morgan and Barclays. Facebook is also a major client.”

Kusch & Co has installed seating in around 200 airports worldwide over the past ten years. “Charles de Gaulle in Paris has 22,000 pieces of Kusch furniture – it’s the biggest Kusch showroom on the planet.”

A helping hand from Shipleys

“The UK side of the business has been working with Shipleys for a long time. Ben Bidnell has been an adviser for several years, consistently giving us really helpful and constructive professional advice relating to UK accounts, corporation tax, VAT advice – UK and international – and payroll outsourcing. “During the recession, the market tightened and, like every other business, we faced numerous challenges. So we looked to Shipleys to help us reduce costs, yet still maintain the level of expertise we need to continue our business. They helped us to batten down the hatches and we managed to avoid too much restructuring. With the help and advice of Shipleys, we very successfully outsourced the finance side to James Rosling of Chalkdell Management Accountants, who works for us one or two days a month, and a bookkeeper who comes in once a week.”

Adapting to a changing world

The company’s plan for the future, both UK and globally, is to continue to innovate new products in its three core markets. “The design and quality of products really does set us apart, and the emphasis is to keep improving on these areas. Furthermore, our environmental credentials are second to none. The whole world has become very conscious about green issues, but Kusch & Co has been diligent about sustainability for decades. We are always looking at new ways to embrace environmentally-friendly processes.”

Carl explains that the UK is seeing a definite move in the corporate workspace towards agile working – moving away from the traditional 100% occupancy of one person to one desk. “It’s now more like 80% occupancy – with less desk positions and more alternative working areas – such as café-style and alcove seating areas,” says Carl. “The captains of industry want to increase the productivity of their staff and want to attract younger staff members. It’s about providing a stimulating environment, encouraging people to have work conversations and bat ideas around. If we create more of a hybrid domestic-office feel, they will be inclined to stay at work longer.”