Gypsum industry news
Philippines: Knauf Gypsum Philippines has started building a gypsum wallboard plant in the industrial park at the Calaca Seaport in Batangas. The company is a joint venture between the German companies Knauf Gips and Deutsche Investitions-und Entwicklungsgesellschaft (DEG), an investment and development group, according to the Philippines News Agency. Murray Read, Knauf's chief executive officer (CEO) for Asia and the Pacific, said that the plant is aimed to meet demand for plasterboard and other gypsum-based building products within the country's growing construction industry.
Chile: Knauf has acquired Novochile for an undisclosed amount. The purchase includes a 10Mm2/yr gypsum wallboard plant in La Serana and gypsum mineral reserves. The plant supplies central and northern Chile and it will compliment Knauf's plant in Argentina. It will be the seventh that it operates in Latin America.
Peru: Eternit Perú plans to spend around US$8.7m towards security, technology and plant productivity by 2020. Over half of this investment, US$4.4m, will be spent in 2017, according to the El Comercio newspaper. The building materials producer intends to double its gypsum wallboard business by 2020 and it has started a new marketing campaign to support this aim. It has recently won a government tender to build 2600 temporary homes using its wallboard system and it also plans to start exporting products to New Zealand in the short term.
Canada: The government has opened its Drywall Support Program for applications until the end of May 2017. This program provides drywall contractors and builders in Western and Northern Canada with compensation for elevated drywall costs due to anti-dumping duties imposed on imported drywall from the US, according to Canadian Newswire. The initiative is also intended to homeowners in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) whose homes were severely damaged or destroyed by the 2016 wildfires and are now facing higher rebuilding costs. The US$9m scheme will be administered by Western Economic Diversification Canada and the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency.
US: Thomas Kinisky has been appointed as the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Saint-Gobain Corporation, Saint-Gobain's holding company in North America. He has also been appointed as the Senior Vice President for Saint-Gobain and is a member of the company's Global Management Committee. Kinisky assumed the position earlier in 2017 when he succeeded John Crowe. Crowe was also the president and CEO of Saint-Gobain's subsidiary CertainTeed. He has been succeeded in these roles by Benoit Bazin, who will also continue to serve as the global President of the Construction Products Sector and Senior Vice President for Saint-Gobain.
Kinisky joined Norton Company in 1989 before its acquisition by Saint-Gobain in 1990. He spent over a decade working in research and development in various roles, including Vice President of Technology and New Business Development for the company's Abrasives Division, before assuming the role as president for Saint-Gobain Crystals in 2002 and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics in 2008.
He holds a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Pace University and a Master of Science in materials science from New York University (Polytechnic University). He has authored technical publications and holds five US patents.
US: The Gypsum Association has elected Timothy Power as the chair of its board of directors. Power is the Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Continental Building Products. Other appointments that have been elected include Georgia Pacific's Charles R Harrison as the vice-chair of the board, USG's Albert R Zucco as the treasurer and the Gypsum Association's Stephen H Meima as the secretary. American Gypsum Company's Peter Bauser is the past chair of the board. Officers were elected at the recent meeting of the Association's board of directors in Albuquerque, New Mexico. All terms are for one year and are effective from 1 May 2017.
US: USG's profit has been reduced due to rising commodity costs in both its gypsum and ceiling businesses. Its operating profit fell by 22% year-on-year to US$91m in the first quarter of 2017 from US$116m in the same period in 2016. Its net sales rose by 2.7% to US$767m from US$747m, roughly in line with its sales revenue growth in 2016 as a whole. The group reported that US gypsum wallboard volumes decreased by 4% in the quarter. Domestic wallboard manufacturing costs increased by US$16m due to rising waste paper and synthetic gypsum input costs.
"We had sound operational performance in the first quarter and we are seeing solid demand for our products," said Jennifer F Scanlon, president and chief executive officer. "I am encouraged about our prospects for the balance of the year, despite the uptick we are seeing in commodity costs."
France: Saint-Gobain has reported sales growth in all main territories in the first quarter of 2017, led by Asia and its emerging markets. Net sales for its Interior Solutions division rose by 6.2% year-on-year to Euro1.71bn in the first quarter of 2017 from Euro1.61bn in the same period of 2016. This was supported by rising prices in a 'strong cost inflation environment.' Overall the group's net sales rose by 7.6% to Euro9.14bn. Notable geographical trends included a recovery in France and a continued poor market in Brazil.
"The first quarter saw robust trading. The good momentum in sales volumes observed in 2016 continued at the start of the year in all business sectors and regions. France benefited from the recovery in new-build activity, while other Western European countries delivered further growth. North America and emerging markets had a good start to the year. The group continued to pursue its priorities, focusing particularly on sales prices amid a more inflationary backdrop," said Pierre-André de Chalendar, chairman and chief executive officer of Saint-Gobain.
US: CertainTeed has gained six additional Environmental Product Declarations (EPD), bringing its total number of gypsum wallboard EPDs to 12. The building materials producer started launching product specific EPDs in the drywall category in late 20115.
"CertainTeed is proud to have pioneered EPD verifications both within our drywall products and extending across CertainTeed insulation and ceilings categories. Since the beginning, we've delivered on our commitment to provide better product transparency so that our customers can make informed decisions on environmental sustainability implications at the initial stages of project development," said Dave Engelhardt, president of CertainTeed Gypsum.
CertainTeed Gypsum offers 12 product-specific Type III EPDs that include seven plants in four different product categories. The company says it is the only manufacturer to offer 'Cradle-to-Grave' EPD transparency that takes the entire development process into account. The EPDs from CertainTeed Gypsum are third-party verified by UL Environment and include information on global warming potential, embodied energy and other impacts that occur as a result of manufacturing.
The six new EPDs are available for four product groups including AirRenew, M2Tech, Easi-Lite and CertainTeed Type X. AirRenew is produced at the Moundsville plant in West Virginia and the other products are manufactured at the Montreal plant in Quebec, Canada.
France/Switzerland: Saint-Gobain has extended its agreements with the Burkard family relating to the sale of the shares of Schenker-Winkler Holding (SWH), which holds the majority of Sika voting rights, to 31 December 2017. Saint-Gobain will then have the right to extend the agreement up until 31 December 2018. The building products manufacturer said that that the further extension reflected its determination to eventually buy Sika.
Saint-Gobain has attempted to buy Sika since at least 2014. An attempt to transfer shares of Sika from the Burkard family was blocked by a Swiss court in late 2016.