A Strix in Greek mythology was a bird of ill omen, the product of metamorphosis, it fed on human flesh and blood (sorry if you’re reading this during breakfast). I’m just thankful it doesn’t fly the corridors of Kames Capital.

Move forward a few thousand years and Strix is more commonly known as a company that makes kettle components. Interestingly, much like the mythical creature, this too can trace its history back to flight…

In 1951 Eric Taylor founded Castletown Thermostats inventing thermostats used to control heated flying suits worn by bomber crews at high altitudes during WWII. Similar technology is now in households throughout the world, Strix products are used about one billion times a day globally. Did you know, that click isn’t just to let you know that the water is ready for a cup of tea, it is also to prevent overheating and fire.

Only 13% of households in North America own a kettle. But, us Brits can breathe a sigh of relief-  America is developing a taste for tea with the market growing around 15% per year. Contrast this to the UK where we have more kettles than households; I have one in my garage (don’t ask). The fact is that not using a kettle to boil water is a waste of energy. Many Americans use the top of their cooker to boil water, only 15% of the natural gas being burned is converted to heat in the water. Adding a lid can take that to 30% and stop your wall paper peeling off! Locating the heating coil directly in the water and having insulated sides enables a kettle to hit 70% energy efficiency. Yes we are all guilty at times of overfilling the kettle, but these clever kettle makers have even helped there with a scale on the side of the kettle showing how much water we need per cup. The problem is actually sticking to the measure, and Strix are onto this and have started producing one-cup kettles, a perfect solution for you and your imaginary friend!

The business has numerous patents in regulated markets. New products include water filtration devices including a water bottle with the filter inbuilt to address consumer concerns regarding lead, bacterial and viral contamination.

With a solid balance sheet and a growing dividend, the share price has also been simmering up nicely since the float in 2017. 

Disclaimer – at the time of writing Strix is held across our UK equity portfolios including ethical equity.

About the author

Douglas Scott is an investment manager in the UK Equities team with responsibility for managing several equity income funds. In addition, Douglas has analysis duties for the tobacco, real estate, telecoms, beverages and oil services sectors. He joined us in 2003 from Investec where he was a stockbroker specialising in the telecoms sector and, prior to that, worked for TRW and Abbey National in their UK equity teams. Douglas has a 1st Class Honours degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the University of Glasgow and a Diploma in Actuarial Science from Heriot-Watt University. He has 23 years’ industry experience*.  *As at 30 April 2019.

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