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  • That sinking feeling: Brexit threatens German bathroom connection | Politics

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See the news That sinking feeling: Brexit threatens German bathroom connection | Politics from Source Guardian on 11/02/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.

That sinking feeling: Brexit threatens German bathroom connection | Politics

Dietrich von Gruben finds it distressing on a personal and professional level that Britain wants to leave the EU, but he accepts the decision with a qualification. “If you join a club you should also be able to leave it, but you should at least prepare a way or have an idea as to how you want to do it,” he says.“I am quite anxious about what the complete lack of preparedness might mean for my business.”The managing shareholder of Deba, a manufacturer of pre-fabricated bathrooms, overwhelmingly for the luxury UK market, says uncertainty over Brexit has left him feeling very unclear about the future. The mittelstand firm – one of the 3.3m small to medium-sized, often family-run, companies which make up the backbone of the German economy – currently relies on the UK for 70% of its turnover.The factory floor in Salzwedel, Saxony-Anhalt, gives an insight into how British, or more specifically, London-focused the company has become since it entered the UK market eight years ago.Two workers are painstakingly arranging a mosaic of hundreds of tiny Versace-designed grey and white patterned tiles. A welder stands by ready to seal it into the wall of one of hundreds of units the company is constructing for the Dubai-owned Damac tower block in Nine Elms, south-west London. Deba is also proud of having completed no fewer than 1,242 bathrooms for the Battersea power station conversion – “one of our biggest showpieces so far”, Von Gruben says.Elsewhere a shower wall cut out of Thessaloniki Grigio marble is destined for a luxury development next to the Shard, for now the EU’s tallest building, which Deba is kitting out with 290 bathrooms. Signs pasted over the units read: “Wet plaster!” and “Don’t step on the ceiling!”Von Gruben and other shareholders rescued Deba from bankruptcy in the early 1990s, transforming it into one of Europe’s leading bathroom specialists. It now has an annual turnover of €25m (£22m) and employs around 180 staff in Germany and 50 in Poland.Each week it transports around five lorryloads of ready-to-use bathroom units complete down to the last detail, including plugs and shaving points. Timing is everything. The bathrooms must arrive to fit into tight building schedules, and almost immediately on delivery, are lifted up and slotted in before the outer walls and windows are added.Wind is the biggest day-to-day unknown. “Such an operation, involving a cube of up to 2.5 tonnes, is obviously precarious so you have to keep an eye on the weather,” explains Georg von Gruben, Dietrich’s son and business partner. These days, however, it is Brexit has far greater potential to blow the company off course.“To try to guess is like reading tea leaves,” says his father. “Where’s the voice of reason? I think the only one talking any sense...

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See the news That sinking feeling: Brexit threatens German bathroom connection | Politics from Source Guardian on 11/02/2019 has been updated to day with the theme on feedixo.