Fixtures at Tungsram’s headquarters.

The reborn Tungsram brand made its public debut at the recent Middle East Electricity (MEE) trade exhibition in Dubai, UAE, to proclaim that it is back as a premium European brand ready  to serve the region with smart, bright lighting solutions.

Just over a year ago in April 2018, GE sold its lighting business in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Turkey (EMEAT), as well as its global automotive business, to Tungsram Group controlled by Joerg Bauer, the former president of GE Hungary, via a management buyout.

At Middle East Electricity held in March, Tungsram was the main sponsor for lighting, and its booth showcased the products and the brand transition story from GE to Tungsram.

Bauer ... strengthening relationships with customers.

Bauer ... strengthening relationships with customers.

“Our experts’ presentations in the conference sections tried to explain to project owners and industry players how streetlighting with smart-ready lamps and the right partners can be the infrastructure that a smart city can be easily built on,” Manoj Jayachandran, managing director, Middle East, Africa, Turkey, CIS and Asean regions, tells Gulf Construction.

Tungsram has been focusing on the energy service company (Esco) projects and outdoor lighting in the Middle East and Africa (Mena) region and the consumer channel in Turkey. The company has 110 distribution partners in 34 countries of the region and has been well accepted by many government bodies, especially in Saudi Arabia for outdoor tenders.

“We are investing in all our active locations and developing distinct technological capabilities for the factories, all while strengthening customer-facing distribution partners,” says Bauer, Tunsgram president and CEO.

“Instead of being a part of a very large organisation, like GE, Tungsram – with a strong lighting core – has been refocused to support our customers and partners, following the principle of ‘what more can we do for your success’ with the flexibility and the agility of a startup company’.”

“Tungsram, as a brand, has a long history in the region and was quite popular in many key countries in the Middle East,” Jayachandran points out.

While in many markets, Tungsram lamps were sold along with GE in the past, it was always considered an equally good option among the top brands in lighting. Many of Tungsram’s loyal traders had patronised this brand for decades.

Customers have accepted Tungsram as a major brand.

Customers have accepted Tungsram as a major brand.

With the advent of the buyout from GE and in line with the industry trend that most of the top brands were getting identified by new names, the newly-formed group had the opportunity and the luxury of going back to its European roots as Tungsram, he says.

Jayachandran adds that most of its channel partners have been very excited with this change since their customers could immediately associate them both with the past and GE quality.

Jayachandran says that in the region, Tungsram is now working closely with one of the major municipalities in the UAE on its smart city solution to see how it can ensure that its solution creates a smart experience of convenience, safety and ease of living for the residents.

Another important development currently under way is in Turkey, where the consumer channel stores have accepted Tungsram as a major brand, and the company will be rolling out in more than 600 stores in 2019, he says.

Jayachandran says the company’s management puts emphasis on meeting all its key customers both at their venues and also organises factory visits to key partners in Hungary to boost confidence in the brand. Showcasing its state-of-the-art factory in Hungary that produces streetlighting solutions has been a convincing exercise for its partners, he adds.

On the world market, Tungsram is represented as a premium European lighting brand with design, development and manufacturing in Hungary and a strategy to expand its outreach. Following a smooth transition from GE, Tungsram now has 22 subsidiaries in 23 countries and customers in 110 global markets.

Exporting more than 95 per cent of its production, Tungsram’s supply chain is centred around its five factories in Hungary working to the highest quality standards demanded by the industry with its network of 1,600 suppliers and partners.

As one of the largest employers in Hungary, Tungsram receives support from the Hungarian embassies in many countries to network with decision makers on lighting and local investments.