Gypsum industry news
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.
Switzerland: The Board of Directors of Sika has made a series of management changes that will take effect from 1 April 2017.
Thomas Hasler, the Chief Technology Officer, has been appointed as the Head of Industry. The Target Market Industry serves the markets automobile and commercial vehicle industry, automotive aftermarket, renewable energies, and facade engineering. The new position will also include responsibility for the two global business units Automotive and Tooling & Composites.
Yumi Kan, the Head Building Systems & Industry, has been appointed as the Head of Construction which will include markets in concrete, waterproofing, refurbishment, sealing and bonding, flooring and roofing. Combining these markets is intended to enable Sika to strengthen its services for global customers and key accounts as well as for large construction projects with cross-selling potential.
Ernesto Schuemperli, the Head of Concrete & Waterproofing, has been appointed as the Head of Infrastructure & Mining, directly reporting to the chief executive officer. He will also support the change to the new organisation of the target markets.
Frank Hoefflin, currently the Technology Head of Thermoplastic Systems, has been appointed as the Chief Technology Officer and member of group management. Hoefflin joined Sika in the USA and has worked in both the USA and Switzerland in various research and development functions. He holds a PhD from the University of Freiburg in Germany and is a US and German citizen.
Heinz Gisel, currently the Regional Manager for Asia/Pacific, has decided to step down from his position in order to take a sabbatical. Gisel will return in the second half of 2017 and assume a new position within Sika.
Mike Campion, currently Head of Area Greater China, has been appointed as the Regional Manager of Asia/Pacific and member of the group management. Campion joined Sika in the USA and has held several management positions in the USA and China. He holds a degree in Science from Villanova University, Pennsylvania, and is a US citizen.
Switzerland: Sika's net sales rose by 4.7% year-on-year to Euro5.40bn in 2016 from Euro5.16bn in 2015. Its net profit rose by 21.8% to Euro533m from Euro437m. the company attributed this to growth in all regions.
"We continued our growth strategy with great success in the 2016 business year, once again increasing both sales and earnings. Operating profit, net profit and operating free cash flow reached new records. By opening nine new factories, establishing four more national subsidiaries and acquiring four companies, we have laid the foundations for ongoing future growth," said chief executive officer Jan Jenisch.
Switzerland: Sika is expecting a record profit in 2016 following a 5.6% year-on-year rise in sales to Euro05.4bn in 2016. The construction chemicals producer reported growth in all regions, with above-average growth rates recorded in the USA, Mexico, the UK, Africa, Southeast Asia and Australia.
"With investments in nine new factories, four new national subsidiaries and four acquisitions, we have established the basis for future growth. These 17 investments, together with our pipeline of new products and our strong sales organisation, allow us to look with much confidence to the future," said Sika's chief executive officer Jan Jenisch.
Switzerland: Sika has received an appeal by Schenker-Winkler Holding against a ruling by the Cantonal Court of Zug on 28 October 2016 that blocked the sale of Burkard-Schenker's shares to Saint-Gobain. At the time Saint-Gobain said that it still wanted to buy Sika and that its agreement with the Burkard family is valid until June 2017, with an option to extend it until December 2018.
Switzerland: The board of directors of Sika has offered to buy out the stake of the Burkard-Schenker family in order to end a battle caused by the family's intention to sell its controlling stake to Saint-Gobain. Sika's chairman Paul Haelg announced plans to buy the family shares, in an interview with newspapers NZZ am Sonntag and Schweiz, saying that after a two-year dispute it has become obvious that no solution can be reached if all sides work against each other.
The announcement follows a ruling by the Cantonal Court of Zug on 28 October 2016 that blocked the sale of Burkard-Schenker's shares to Saint-Gobain. The family holds 16.4% of the capital and 52.6% of the voting rights of Sika. Saint-Gobain reacted to the ruling by saying that its board of directors continues to want to buy Sika and that agreement with the Burkard family is valid until June 2017 and can be extended until December 2018.
Switzerland: Jan Jenisch, the chief executive of Sika, has said that he will resign if Saint-Gobain wins its bid to takeover the company. He added that he does not see a positive future for the growth of Sika should Saint-Gobain succeed, in comments at a company event reported upon by Reuters. The management of Sika have been fighting a takeover attempt by Saint-Gobain since December 2014.
France/Switzerland: Saint-Gobain and the Burkard family have extended their agreement relating to the sale of shares of Schenker-Winkler Holding (SWH) and to extend the validity of the agreement until 30 June 2017. Saint-Gobain will then have an option to extend the agreement until 31 December 2018. SWH holds the majority of voting rights of Sika.
"Together, we are fully committed to this transaction. It makes sense from a strategic, industrial and financial standpoint for Saint-Gobain and for Sika, for their employees, for their customers and for all of their shareholders. The amendment to the agreement covers the longest of timelines to resolve related disputes, allowing SWH to regain its property rights," said Pierre-André de Chalendar, Chairman and CEO of Saint-Gobain.
In December 2014, Saint-Gobain announced its intention to buy a 16.1% stake in Sika for Euro2.6bn, thus acquiring control over the building materials producer. However, Sika's management and minority shareholders opposed the deal. At the end of January 2016, Saint-Gobain's finance chief Laurent Guillot told Reuters that the group still believed in a successful outcome despite the resistance it faced. In February 2016 Sika reiterated its opposition to the takeover in a financial statement saying that, "There is still no evidence to suggest there is any industrial logic behind the transaction."
France/Switzerland: Saint-Gobain has said that the validity of its agreement with the Burkard family for the acquisition of the shares in Sika has been extended to 30 June 2016, with an option to further extend the agreement.
French construction material producer Saint-Gobain and the Burkard family decided to change their agreement on the sale of the shares of Schenker-Winkler Holding (SWH), which holds the majority of the voting rights in Sika, and to extend the validity of the agreement, the French group said in a statement. Holding company SWH owns a 16.1% stake in Sika and 52.4% of the voting rights.
"Under no circumstance can Saint-Gobain be forced to purchase the shares of SWH if its stake in Sika would not represent the majority of the voting rights or if such acquisition would trigger the obligation to launch a mandatory offer to all Sika shareholders," the company said in a statement.
In December 2014, Saint-Gobain had announced its intention to buy this stake for Euro2.6bn, thus acquiring control over Sika.
Switzerland: Resistance to Saint-Gobain's offer to buy Swiss-based Sika has strengthened as a new group of minority shareholders said that they oppose the deal. Walter Gruebler, a former chairman of Sika's board, as well as other former board members, have said that they are backing the company's management in opposing the Saint-Gobain takeover attempt, Sika said in a statement. The stake held by those former board members represents 1% of Sika's equity.
"This transaction endangers the culture of a great Swiss family company that has been able to evolve over the decades and destroys value for Sika shareholders," said the minority shareholders. "Resistance, represented by the board and the management, is justified."
Sika's management and its board are fiercely fighting an agreement sealed between the Burkard family, which controls Sika and Saint-Gobain in December 2014. The family accepted an offer of Euro2.57bn for its holding company Schenker-Winkler Holding AG, one of Europe's biggest building-materials groups by revenue. The holding company currently holds 52.4% of the voting rights in Sika, but only 16.1% of the shares.
The sale would give Saint-Gobain control without having to make an offer for the remaining 83.9% owned by shareholders. The deal is unfair for minority shareholders, the management has said. Sika has said that shareholders representing more than 35% of its total capital have given their assurance that they support the board of directors in its efforts to fend off the takeover.