Gypsum industry news
Valerie Gervais appointed Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Saint-Gobain in North America19 May 2017
US: Valerie Gervais has been appointed as the Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Saint-Gobain Corporation, the group's holding company in North America. She will take a position on the group's North American Executive Committee and will report directly to Tom Kinisky, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of Saint-Gobain Corporation.
Gervais will be relocating to Saint-Gobain's North American headquarters in Malvern, Pennsylvania from Paris, France where she was responsible for human resources for Saint-Gobain Glass US and human resources for Saint-Gobain ADFORS and Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics within the Innovative Materials Sector globally. In addition to her new position in North America, she will continue to support the global Performance Plastics business, reporting to James Thomson, Vice President of Human Resources for Saint-Gobain's Innovative Materials Sector.
Gervais started working for Saint-Gobain in 2010 as Vice President of Development and Recruitment for Saint-Gobain in North America. Prior to that, Gervais held the positions of Director of Global Talent Management and Director of Leadership & Organizational Development for GlaxoSmithKline. She holds a master's degree in business from the Institute of Management in Rennes, France.
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.
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.
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.
Ukraine: Saint-Gobain plans to build a gypsum wallboard plant in the Tlumach district of the Ivano-Frankivsk region. The Euro65m project includes the construction of two building materials units in the area, according to Interfax. A construction materials plant is scheduled for completion at the end of 2017 followed by a wallboard plant by early 2018. Both plants will be located near to the Khotymyr gypsum deposit. The new units are expected to create around 300 jobs.
Brazil: Saint-Gobain has finalised its purchase of the distribution network of Tumelero Materiais de Construção sales outlets in Rio Grande do Sul. The distribution company operates a portfolio of building materials and services for the construction industry including 29 sales outlets and nearly 1000 staff.
Following the acquisition Saint-Gobain says it will run the country's largest network of distribution sales outlets for home improvement products and services in Brazil with a total of 70 outlets operating under the Telhanorte, Telhanorte Conceito, Pro Telhanorte and Tumelero brands in 46 cities in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul states. The transaction has been approved by the Brazilian competition regulator CADE.
France: Saint-Gobain's Interior Solutions division's sales rose by 1.5% year-on-year to Euro6.58bn in 2016 from Euro6.49bn in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 9.6% to Euro982m from Euro896m. It attributed the rise in sales to good growth in the first half of the year with growth in most regions. It also noted that productivity gains and a fall in costs, particularly energy, drove a 'sharp' improvement in its operating margin.
"Saint-Gobain showed strong progress in its 2016 results. We saw the benefits of our optimisation efforts and of our development in emerging markets, in a more supportive economic environment than 2015. As expected, France stabilised over the year as new-build activities recovered. All other regions enjoyed good momentum. The group also benefited from its focus on pricing against a backdrop of lower energy and raw material costs," said Pierre-André de Chalendar, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Saint-Gobain.
UK: Nottingham County Council has granted permissions to the Marblaegis Mine near British Gypsum's East Leake wallboard plant to operate for a further 17 years. The mine was originally licensed to operate until the end of 2025 but can now operate until 2042.
"The phasing out of coal-fired power stations means we have reducing access to synthetic gypsum or desulphogypsum, also called DSG, an important by-product we have been recycling into plasterboard since the early 1990s. We need to counteract this reduction in DSG output by increasing supply from mined and quarried natural gypsum as well as continuing to support plasterboard recycling programmes," said Jeremy Elvins, minerals and estates manager at British Gypsum to Inside Media.
The mine has an installed production capacity of 600,000t/yr but only 250,000t/yr is extracted at present. The mine supports 26 full-time staff at present although the nearby wallboard plant employs 264 staff and 125 contractors.
UK: British Gypsum has launched its Gyproc Habito plasterboard product to the retail sector. The plasterboard features a high-strength core that provides strength, durability and fixability. The product is intended to help create durable and robust commercial spaces, while improving design flexibility. Due to its strength it is being targeted at high traffic retail spaces where interiors are frequently redesigned.
"Retail is a sector that's constantly evolving to meet customer needs and requirements, so flexibility is crucial on any project. There is a lot of time pressure during construction to get a store open as quickly as possible. Due to a reduced need for patressing, Gyproc Habito speeds up the installation process in addition to providing the freedom to fix heavy items anywhere," said Paul Campbell, Head of Product Marketing at British Gypsum.
Thailand: Thai Gypsum Products plans to focus on links with partners to launch more products in 2017. Managing director Richard Juggery said this was part of this company's strategy to expand and strengthen collaborations with domestic and international market partners, according to the Nation newspaper. He added that the company hopes to grow exports or expansion plans in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam. The subsidiary of Saint-Gobain has gypsum wallboard plants at Laem Chabang, Chon Buri and Bang Pa-in, Ayutthaya.