Gypsum industry news
Australia: Knauf Plasterboard has started building a new wallboard plant at the Port of Bundaberg, Burnett Heads, Queensland, according to local media. The project was announced in January 2016 and was subject to approvals before construction could start.
The project comprises the construction and operation of a wallboard plant at the Port of Bundaberg, including gypsum handling and processing facilities to support wallboard production and for on-sale of gypsum into the agriculture sector.
The project has been made possible by funding from the Queensland Government for the construction of a 26km gas pipeline from the Australian Gas Network's Wide Bay gas transmission line at Bundaberg to Burnett Heads. This gas supply supplies capacity for the Knauf plant and other industrial users in the region.
"Knauf is very pleased to be playing its part in working collaboratively with the State Government to help build new industries and boost regional and state economies," said Knauf CEO of Asia Pacific, Murray Read. He added that the Bundaberg plant was a great investment for Knauf, as it expanded Knauf's wallboard manufacturing network into Queensland to better serve its customers, create additional trade through an under-utilised port facility, support regional development and, in partnership with the State Government, helped to develop critical infrastructure for Knauf and other industrial users in regional Queensland.
The plant is expected to create up to 200 jobs during the construction of the plant and around 55 new positions when operational.
Germany: Jochen Fabritius has been appointed with shareholder approval as the new CEO of the Xella Group with effect from 1 March 2016. Fabritius has been on the management board of the Xella Group since 1 November 2014 in his role as Chief Operation Officer (COO). He will remain COO and also retain responsibility for the technology division in his new role.
Fabritius succeeds Jan Buck-Emden, who left the company in October 2015. Since then, the company has been jointly managed by Dr Jochen Fabritius and CFO Jürgen Wiecha.
The Xella Group produces and markets building materials, gypsum fibreboards and cement-bonded and fire protection boards and lime. In 2014 Xella generated sales of approximately Euor1.27bn with a workforce of 6686. The company is indirectly owned by private equity companies PAI Partners and Goldman Sachs Capital Partners.
Australia: Boral's profit after tax has grown by 23% year-on-year to US$97.2m in the first half of its 2016 financial year. It reported a profit of US$80m for the same period in its 2015 period. It attributed the growth to a strong residential market and growth in New South Wales (NSW) with cost cutting, price rises and slightly higher property earnings for its construction materials and cement business. Overall revenue fell by 4% year-on-year to US$1.6bn.
"The success of the first half is underpinned by a very strong residential construction market in NSW, a solid performance in South-East Queensland, further recovery in the US and a successful growth strategy in the gypsum business in Australia and Asia," said Boral CEO and Managing Director Mike Kane.
Boral's gypsum business reported a 13% rise in revenue to US$505m. This was attributed to increased penetration of Sheetrock brand wallboard, resulting in higher overall pricing, and stronger non-board sales. Strong volume growth in Australia was offset by contraction in key Asian markets and a reversal of a short-term market share gain in South Korea.
US: USG Corporation has grown its gypsum business operating profit by 65% year-on-year to US$316m in 2015 from US$192m in 2014. The company attributed the results to price rises.
"We finished 2015 on a strong note by achieving impressive margin expansion in our Gypsum and Ceilings businesses. Improved pricing in both businesses, coupled with our cost discipline, drove this increased performance," said James S Metcalf, Chairman, President and CEO.
Net sales for its gypsum business rose by 5% year-on-year to US$2bn from US$1.9bn. Notably, sales dropped by 4% to US$187m in its Mexico and Latin America region although profits rose in the saUSHme period.
As a whole, the company reported sales of US$3.78bn in 2015, a slight rise from 2014. Operating profit more than doubled to US$381m from US$162m. Its USG Boral business reported that its net sales rose by 7.6% to US$1bn. Its operating profit rose by 30.5% to US$125m.
US: Gypsum Management and Supply (GMS) has acquired Robert N Karpp Company, a drywall supplier based in Boston, Massachusetts. The purchase gives GMS, a North American distributor of gypsum wallboard and suspending ceiling systems, entry into the New England market.
"This addition to our business is a natural fit for GMS as we continue to expand our geographic footprint, while providing our resources as a national brand to help support new and existing local yards," said Mike Anderson, the GMS VP of Operations for the Northeast region.
Azerbaijan: The president of Azerbaijan has attended the opening of the 0.4Mt/yr Ağdağ gypsum plaster plant built by Matanat-A in Baku's Garadagh District on 30 January 2016. The plant has been built using US$0.9m loan from the national business promotion fund. It employs more than 800 workers.
Suppliers supporting the project include Boemer, Saake, Haver and Boecker, Atlas Copco, ABB, Caterpillar, STP and Erisim. Half of the products made at the plant will be exported to Russia, Kazakhstan, Georgia, Turkmenistan, Ukraine and Iran.
US: Transnational Group has appointed Israel Gamliel as the company's Chief Operating Officer (COO). The firm is a mineral and natural resource exploration company focused on acquiring and mining mineral-rich assets, including high-grade gypsum, in the Southwestern US.
"Transnational Group is very pleased to welcome Israel Gamliel as our new COO. He has demonstrated an ability to lead companies through periods of significant revenue growth in a short time frame through the optimum management of people, products, raw materials and financial resources," said the Company's CEO, Philip Dutoit.
Gamliel has several years of experience serving as the CEO, president and owner of multiple companies in diverse markets including construction, real estate and the garment industry.
US: Eagle Materials has reported that its operating earnings from its Gypsum Wallboard and Paperboard business fell by 8% year-on-year to US$45.2m in the third quarter of 2015. The decline was attributed to lower gypsum wallboard and paperboard sales volumes.
Gypsum wallboard and paperboard revenues fell by 9% year-on-year to US$132m. Wallboard sales volumes fell by 7% year-on-year to 53Mm2. Third quarter gypsum wallboard sales volumes did not benefit from pre-buying activity in advance of a price increase, as had been the case in the prior year's third quarter, due to a shift in the timing of our announced wallboard price increase for 2016 from 1 January 2016 to 31 March 2016. Paperboard sales volumes fell by 8% year-on-year to 71,000t, 8% lower than the same quarter a year ago.
US: Steve Rowley will retire as president and CEO of Eagle Materials on 31 March 2016. Dave Powers, Executive Vice President for Gypsum Wallboard at Eagle since 2005, will succeed Rowley as President and CEO. He will also be appointed to the Board of Directors.
"Steve has positioned Eagle for an exciting future. He has led the doubling of the scale of our cement business and has guided the growth of our gypsum wallboard business in achieving its nation-wide scope. He also has successfully led the company through the longest and most challenging construction market down-cycle in US history," said Larry Hirsch, Chairman of the Board. Health reasons were cited for Rowley's retirement.
Dave Powers, aged 65, holds over 35 years of experience in the building materials industry. He joined Eagle Materials (formerly Centex Construction Products) in 2002 as Executive Vice President, Sales and Marketing. In January 2005, he was promoted to his role as Eagle's Executive Vice President for Gypsum (and President, American Gypsum Company LLC).
Poland: Finland's Valmet has signed a contract with CIECH Soda Polska for the supply of a flue gas desulphurization plant (FGD) to Soda Polska's Janikowo combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Poland. This is the second order of a FGD plant from CIECH Soda Polska. In August 2015, Valmet signed a contract for a similar plant for the Inowroclaw CHP plant including a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) plant. The value of the order is around Euro20m.
"This investment will extend the lifetime of the Janikowo CHP plant and help us in complying with the Industrial Emissions Directive (IED) by decreasing our SO2 and dust emissions," said Marcin Malek, Director of Investments at CIECH Soda Polska.
The Janikowo CHP plant provides energy to the Janikowo Chemical Plant, owned by the Polish CIECH group. The CHP plant is in the national transition plan in Poland for compliance with the IED and will have to comply with tight annual emission ceilings for SO2, NOx and dust starting in 2017.
Valmet's delivery includes a wet limestone based flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) plant to remove SO2 from the flue gases of two existing coal fired steam boilers, each with 140t/hr steam capacity. The FGD is planned to be in commercial operation in September 2017.