Sourcing helps stone firm pave way to success
Company Focus: Stone Merchant
Stone Merchant, the surfaces company, is one of Ireland's leading suppliers of natural stone and tiles.
The family-owned business has been trading for over 15 years. While growing in size, the company has also expanded its product range to become a leading supplier in the decorative surfaces space.
Its catalogue now encompasses tiles, slabs for countertops, paving, wood flooring and stone cladding. The cornerstone of the company's business is supplying the Irish trade market with stone and tile products. Some of Ireland's biggest retail and building supplies companies such as Roadstone and Woodies DIY stock Stone Merchant's goods.
The company runs its operation from a three-acre depot in Rathcoole, Co Dublin. Tile and countertop showrooms along with paving displays are set up on-site and the range is constantly updated to keep pace with the latest trends.
Recently the company has gone online with stonemerchant.ie which was launched in late 2013. This expansion is an exciting prospect for the Irish online marketplace and the new website showcases the entire range and allows the company's landscaping and paving products to be purchased directly online.
Stone Merchant sources all of its stone and tile products from country of origin, ensuring the best prices to the trade.
Partner, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks
Having built an established business within the stone and tile market in Ireland, Stone Merchant are now looking to expand further and become known as "the surfaces company". They are also moving towards a more retail-based environment and are eyeing an expansion into the UK. Obviously both of these moves will require potentially greater levels of working capital and financial management.
As part of its expansion into retail and into the UK market the company should look to increase its profile and enter awards such as the European Business Awards, to establish its credentials and enable it to work with agencies such as UKTI to assist it in gaining more market insight, both of which we have helped clients with in recent years.
RSM Farrell Grant Sparks
Since its establishment over 15 years ago, Stone Merchant has experienced rapid growth, for which the sources of, and management of working capital have been critical.
In that time the company has relied on both equity and debt funding, including invoice discounting facilities as sources of working capital. We have assisted many SME clients with the preparation and approaches to financial institutions for the attainment of working capital finance facilities.
We recommend that Stone Merchant keep their current lenders fully briefed about their expansion through online sales, and proposed entry into the UK market, so as to streamline the approval process should further funding be required.
Partner, RSM Farrell Grant Sparks
The expansion of any business into another jurisdiction brings with it potential tax implications and tax structuring is a vital part of any planning.
Through our international network RSM International we have assisted Stone Merchant and a number of other internationally active Irish firms and retailers to ensure that their Irish and international operations are truly built on a firmly structured basis.
Expansion into the UK will bring with it the potential for a foreign permanent establishment. Consideration of VAT and tax-efficient employee remuneration and foreign payroll taxes will also feature prominently in any advisory services that we give to such clients.
The expansion of tax relief for people to have home improvements should also assist the future retail development of Stone Merchant.
Sunday Indo Business