Gypsum industry news
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."
US: USG has released Sheetrock Brand EcoSmart Panels, a lightweight gypsum wallboard panel with sustainable credentials. The panel is based on USG's UltraLight Panels and USG's Corporate Innovation Centre developed new gypsum core chemistries and a manufacturing process to reduce 20% of carbon dioxide emissions and decrease water usage by 25%. It is being released in the US in two core formulations for fire and non-fire-rated applications.
The product was developed in response to the Architecture 2030 Challenge for Products in July 2016. It may also contribute to achieving additional US Green Building Council (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) LEED v4.0 credits and meet the requirements of the Living Building Challenge.
"There has been a significant movement in the architecture community to reduce the carbon footprint of the building sector," said Edward Mazria, chief executive officer and founder of the Architecture 2030 Challenge. "Yet, to fully achieve our goal for the building sector to become carbon-neutral by 2050, manufacturers like USG must quickly rise to the occasion and develop sustainable, low-carbon and zero-carbon building materials."
Australia: Boral's revenue from its gypsum wallboard join venture, USG Boral, has risen by 2% year-on-year to US$566m in the first half of its financial year, which ended on 31 December 2016, from US$552m in the same period in 2015. Its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 18% to US$116m from US$98.5m. It attributed the sales growth to growth in its Sheetrock plasterboard product. The on-going rollout of Sheetrock is scheduled to continue until the end of 2017. Regionally, sales growth in South Korea, Australia and Thailand offset a declining market in China.
The building materials company added that its joint venture had started building a new warehouse at its USG Boral's Dangjin facility in South Korea in the reporting period. The upgrade at the site is intended to add incremental capacity and support the longer-term addition of at least 30Mm2/yr of plasterboard production capacity at the site, which has existing capacity to produce around 70Mm2/yr. The investment will be self-funded through the joint venture.
Overall, Boral's sales revenue fell by 5% to US$1.6bn from US$1.68bn. However, its profit after tax rose by 9% to US$114m from US$105m. It attributed this to a 'solid' performance in Australia combined with good earnings from Boral USA and USG Boral.
US: USG is celebrating the centennial anniversary of its Sheetrock brand, developed as the world's first wallboard panel in 1917. To observe the anniversary USG is hosting celebrations across North America with its employees, dealers and customers. Limited quantities of commemorative products celebrating the anniversary will also be shared with customers and dealers.
"From the first simple wallboard panel developed 100 years ago to the breadth of high-performing panels available today, USG has led the industry in innovation," said Jennifer Scanlon, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of USG Corporation. "We are thrilled to celebrate a century of excellence and product leadership. We are proud that USG's Sheetrock brand is one of the world's most recognised brands."
US: USG's net sales have risen by 3.5% year-on-year to US$3.02bn in 2016 from US$2.91bn in the same period in 2015. Its net income fell by nearly half to US$510m from US$991m. Net sales of gypsum rose by 4.6% to US$2.14bn from US$2.04bn.
"We are in a stronger financial position than we have been in for many years," said Jennifer F Scanlon, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of USG. "In 2016 we expanded adjusted operating margins in our Gypsum, Ceilings, and USG Boral businesses. We finished the year on a high note by paying off US$900m of debt."
US: Net sales from USG's gypsum business have risen by 4.5% year-on-year to US$1.9bn in the first nine months of 2016 from US$1.82bn in the same period in 2015. Its operating profit rose by 18% to US$310m from US$262m. the company said that surfaces and substrates products drove US$5m of this improved profit. US wallboard volumes increased by 1% while domestic wallboard price was down roughly 1% from the third quarter of 2015. Inflation in wallboard input costs was offset by reduced selling, general and administrative expenses spending in the US gypsum business.
"I'm pleased to report that we expanded margins in both of our US businesses as well as in our USG Boral joint venture," said James S Metcalf, president and CEO of USG. He added that the company intends to use the US$670m from its sale of L&W Supply to reduce debt.
Overall, the company reported that its net sales rose by 4% to US$2.28bn from US$2.2bn and its net income rose by 13% to US$203m from US$179m. Sales from its USG Boral business rose by 4.9% to US$778m from US$742m. Improved results from USB Boral in the third quarter of 2016 were attributed to improved gypsum wallboard price and volume, manufacturing efficiencies and increased sales of 'adjacent' products.
US: James S Metcalf will retire as chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of USG with effect from 31 October 2016. He will be succeeded by Jennifer F Scanlon, executive vice president, president, International and president of L&W Supply Corporation. Scanlon has been appointed as a director of USG immediately and she will serve as executive vice president and CEO-elect until 1 November 2016. As part of the leadership transition, Steven F Leer, lead director, will become non-executive chairman of the board, effective 1 November 2016.
"After more than 35 years with the company and more than a decade in senior leadership roles, including almost six years as president and chief executive officer, I believe that it is the right time for me to move on to the next phase of my professional life and for Jenny to guide USG into its next chapter," said Metcalf. He has served as president and chief executive officer since January 2011 and as chairman since December 2011.
Jennifer Scanlon is also a director on the USG Board of Directors and the chairman of the board of USG Boral Building Products. She leads USG's international joint ventures across Asia, Australasia and the Middle East. Her previous assignments at USG include vice president and chief information officer and head of corporate strategy. Scanlon joined USG in 2003 as the director of supply chain and customer relationship strategy. Prior to USG, Scanlon was a senior vice president for Bricker & Associates, a management consulting firm that specialised in assisting Fortune 500 organisations dramatically increasing profits through operational improvement. She began her career at IBM, serving in various operational and consulting roles.
Scanlon graduated from the University of Notre Dame in 1988 with a BA in government and computer applications. She earned an MBA in finance and marketing from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business in 1992. Scanlon serves on the boards of the Chicago Council of Global Affairs and of Shore Community Services. Scanlon is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and the Executives' Club of Chicago.
Steven Leer has been a director of USG since June 2005, and lead director since January 2012. He serves as chair of the Governance Committee and a member of its Compensation and Organisation Committee. Leer retired as chairman of Arch Coal in 2014 after having served in that position since April 2006. He was also the chief executive officer of Arch Coal, Inc. until April 2012. Leer is a director of Norfolk Southern Corporation, Cenovus Energy Inc. and Parsons Corporation. He is a former director of the Greater St Louis Area Boy Scouts of America and the National Association of Manufacturers.
Canada: Wallboard prices have risen in western Canada following the implementation of antidumping tariffs of up to 277% on gypsum wallboard from the US. Builders and suppliers fear the ruling could disrupt the supply of the product for construction projects, including the rebuilding campaign in Fort McMurray in Alberta, according to the Canadian Press news agency.
The Canada Border Services Agency imposed preliminary tariffs on 6 September 2016 on US wallboard into Canada for use in British Colombia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, the Yukon and Northwest Territories. The provisional duty ranges from 125% on imports from CertainTeed Gypsum and Ceiling, 105% on Georgia-Pacific Gypsum, 144% on USG and 277% on all other importers.
US: USG's net sales have risen by 5% year-on-year to US$1.97bn in the first half of 2016 from US$1.90bn in the same period in 2015. The company's net income rose by 37% to US$141m from US$103m. Net sales for its overall gypsum business rose by 6% to US$1.27bn from US$1.19bn. However, net sales for its gypsum business in Mexico and Latin America fell by 3% to US$93m in the first half of 2016 from US$94m in the same period of 2015.
"Our focus on operational execution in all of our businesses drove our improved second quarter results," said James S Metcalf, Chairman, President, and CEO of USG. "Expanding operating margins is a key priority for USG, and we delivered margin expansion in all of our businesses in the second quarter."
Canada: The Canadian Gypsum Company has stopped gypsum mining for the summer at its Little Narrows quarry in Cape Breton. A local councillor quoted by the Cape Breton Post newspaper said that mining has now stopped for the year. However he didn't believe that the company had yet decided whether to shut down the site completely. He added that synthetic gypsum taken from the power plants was replacing natural gypsum at gypsum wallboard plants along the east coast of the US.
In January 2016 the subsidiary of USG laid off 14 winter maintenance workers at the site.