Gypsum industry news
Belarus: Knauf is expected to become the joint owner of Belgips in April 2017 when Belorussian and Russian competition bodies approve its purchase of half of the company from Russia's Volma. Following the transaction Volma will own the remaining half of the gypsum wallboard producer, according to Business News Belarus. The move follows a decision by Volma to concentrate on the Russian market. The Belorussian government has already approved the deal.
Australia: Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment Curtis Pitt toured the construction site of Knauf Australia's US$53m wallboard manufacturing facility near Bundaberg on Wednesday 15 March 2017. Construction of the plant began in early 2016.
"Knauf Australia is well on the way to completing its plasterboard manufacturing factory at the Port of Bundaberg and is expected to commission the plant by mid-July and begin production in August," said Pitt. "Knauf considered a number of locations for its new plant to service the northern Australian markets, including some offshore options. Attracting a global operation like Knauf to Bundaberg offers many benefits for the local community, including the creation of 60 jobs in the region, and around 70 when full production is reached in two years."
Mexico: PPG has agreed to sell its Plaka gypsum wallboard and cement board business to Knauf. The transaction is expected to close in the first half of 2017, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions. No financial details have been released.
PPG acquired the Plaka business in 2014 as part of its acquisition of Comex. Plaka, with sales of around US$30m in 2015, produces wallboard, plasterboard and cement board primarily for the Mexican construction market. The business employs about 200 people and operates a plant in Querétaro.
Australia: The framework is in place for a new wallboard plant that Knauf Plasterboard is building at the Port of Bundaberg in Queensland. A 27.8km gas pipeline that will support the project has also been laid, according to the Bundaberg Newspaper. The next step will be to commission the pipeline and commission off-takes. First gas flows are scheduled for mid-February 2017 whereupon it will supply the new Knauf plant that is expected to start production in June 2017.
Vietnam: Knauf Vietnam has officially inaugurated its 20Mm2 gypsum wallboard plant in the Dinh Vu Industrial Zone in Hai Phong. Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of Germany, Le Thanh Son, Vice Chairman of Hai Phong People's Committee and Christian Berger, German Ambassador to Vietnam attended the opening ceremony amongst other dignitaries and representatives. Construction of the plant originally started in 2014.
"We have been in Vietnam for just over two years in which time we have set up an effective distribution network, with a strong customer base throughout the country. We are currently supplying the Vietnam market with our locally produced wallboard using leading German technology. All of our products have passed the strict requirements of TCVN 8256:2009 and ASTM C1396 and we have received a lot of positive feedback from our valued customers," said David Thomas, General Director of Knauf Vietnam.
Philippines: Knauf and the German Investment and Development Corporation (DEG) are to build a 16Mm2 gypsum wallboard plant in Bataan. The two companies will invest Euro40m in the joint venture project, according to the Philippines News Agency. The agreement was signed at the Philippine embassy in the presence of the Philippine ambassador to Germany Melita Sta. Maria-Thomeczek, Knauf CEO Manfred Grundke and Christian Laibach and Klaus Helsper on behalf of DEG.
The new plant is planned to be completed by early 2018 and is expected to create 100 direct jobs. The proposed investment was granted pioneer status, to provide tax incentives, by the Board of Investments and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre-Berlin earlier in 2016.
Ukraine: Knauf Gips Kyiv, part of Germany's Knauf, has suspended wallboard production because of difficulties with rail traffic, according to Knauf's local marketing and sales director Oleksandr Starchenko. He told Interfax-Ukraine that the Kyiv plant has been forced to suspend operations due to a lack of rolling stock on the railway for the supply of finished products from the Knauf Gips Donbas factory, which is located in Soledar, Donetsk region.
"The situation now is not just bad, it is catastrophically bad," explained Starchenko. "Bad is when at least something works. Catastrophic is when nothing works. This is not only my opinion, this is the view of the market. The result of the situation is the fact that the Kyiv factory halts activities because we cannot bring in materials."
"We have two enterprises here. One of them is in the east, close to the combat zone. However, it works and is one of the largest ones in Europe," he said, noting that the company has limited ability to supply goods produced at Knauf Gips Donbas to customers by rail.
UK: Knauf has ordered a second Samson Material Feeder for its Immingham gypsum wallboard plant. The 100t/hour feeder is to be supplied in October 2017 and it has a centre distance of 11.7m. Knauf is extending an existing raw materials reception area, where products arriving by truck are transferred directly by the feeder to an ongoing conveyor to the production facility.
The Samson Feeder presents an alternative to fixed bunker constructions and can receive bulk materials directly from diggers or dumper trucks. The wide conveyor belt design allows a very low loading height so that trucks can discharge directly into the entry section of the unit. Therefore the bulk material can be unloaded and transferred to the plant straight away, with no requirement for interim storage on arrival. If continuous discharge to an ongoing conveyor is not required at any given time, the bulk material can also be stored in the Samson unit.
Vietnam: Knauf Vietnam has launched StandardShield, a locally-produced brand of gypsum wallboard made at its plant at Hai Phon. The event was marked with a ceremony for clients and press at Ho Chi Minh City on 8 July 2016.
"After two years of operation, with product presence in key areas, we believe this is really the good time for us to supply the market with local products," said David Victor Thomas, General Director of Knauf Vietnam. "This is our special gift for all our valued customers, aimed at expressing our deep gratitude with their continuous support and cooperation in recent years."
Knauf StandardShield is 9.5mm thick with dimensions of 1220 x 2440mm and 1210 x 2420mm. The product is promoted as having high performance in terms of flexural strength, sag and nail pull resistance that passes all requirements of TCVN 8256:2009 and ASTM C1396.
Knauf Vietnam started commissioning at its local wallboard plant March 2016. The plant has a production capacity of 20Mm2/yr.
Vietnam: Knauf Vietnam has inaugurated a 20Mm2/yr gypsum wallboard plant in Haiphong. The plant had an investment of Euro30m.
"After only two years of operation in Vietnam we have gained product presence in key market segments and regions, which we believe will increase with the supply of our new locally produced products," said General Director David Victor Thomas to state media.