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US: Paul Johnson Drywall Inc., an Arizona-based wallboard contractor, has ended its relationship with a labour contractor that misclassified workers as independent contractors, according to the US Department of Labour (DOL). Paul Johnson Drywall agreed to pay US$556,000 in overtime, back wages and liquidated damages to at least 445 current and former employees. It will also take steps to ensure misclassification does not occur again and will pay US$44,000 in civil penalties.
Paul Johnson Drywall had entered into a contract with Arizona Tract to supply wallboard labour. However, Arizona Tract misclassified workers as 'member/owners' and violated overtime and record-keeping provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), according to the DOL. Paul Johnson Drywall also, prior to being solicited by Arizona Tract, failed to pay proper overtime to employees who were paid on a piece-rate basis. Investigators also found that Paul Johnson Drywall failed to keep complete and accurate records.
The company agreed to take steps to ensure its workers are properly classified and paid as employees and to improve compliance in the construction industry. Paul Johnson Drywall will hire a third-party monitor to ensure compliance and require any wallboard subcontractors to conduct regular training of supervisors and employees regarding the requirements under the FLSA. Paul Johnson Drywall has announced a classification initiative that includes reactivating 1325 workers as W-2 employees and hiring 627 new employees as a first step in its FLSA compliance programme, which was developed in conjunction with the DOL.
"We pride ourselves on having the most professional crews in the state and welcomed the opportunity to evaluate employment practices with the DOL," said Cole Johnson, president of Paul Johnson Drywall. "Our crews allow us to deliver clients unparalleled on-time delivery in the safest manner and as a result of these high expectations, we consistently pay our crews the highest wages. We're excited to be taking our business, as well as our trade and related industry, to the next level."
Belgium: During its General Assembly held in Brussels, Belgium on 21 May 2014, Eurogypsum elected the president of Saint-Gobain Gypsum Claude-Alain Tardy as president of Eurogypsum for the period of 2014 - 2016. Tardy succeeds Dott Maurizio Casalini, managing director of Knauf Italy, on the expiry of his statutory term of office.
Tardy is a civil engineer graduate of the École Centrale de Paris. He also has an MS in Industrial Engineering & Engineering Management from the University of Stanford, US. Tardy joined Saint-Gobain in 1981 and between 2005 and 2009 he was chief operating officer of Saint-Gobain Insulation, before being appointed as president of Saint-Gobain Gypsum in 2009.
"I am convinced that wallboard and plaster solutions will play a growing role in the future," said Tardy. "The unique attributes of our products; recyclability, ease of installation, fire resistance, acoustics and thermal properties make our systems inescapable for the construction and renovation of buildings. During my presidency I will concentrate my efforts on the promotion of gypsum industry solutions as the best option to create safe and comfortable interior spaces."
New Zealand: Fletcher Building, which holds a 94% share of the New Zealand wallboard market, may be hurt by a Budget decision to remove tariffs on imported wallboard and duties on other building products, according to analysts. Building products provide about 20% of Fletcher's earnings.
The government said that it hoped to reduce the cost of a standard new home by US$3500, by temporarily dropping duties on 90% of the building materials used. The cost of building materials in New Zealand is around 30% higher than in Australia.
The Building Industry Federation's chief executive Bruce Kohn doubted the Government's claim that the move would save new-home builders US$3500 and said that similar moves in Australia saw that market 'flooded' with low-quality building materials.
Finance Minister Bill English said that reducing the tariffs would build on the government's previous reforms to deliver more competition to the building materials industry. However, Labour leader David Cunliffe said, "Average prices in Auckland rose by US$6208 in April 2014. The Government's levy changes will save just two to three weeks of Auckland house-price inflation."
The Budget announced that anti-dumping tariffs on wallboard, reinforcing steel bar and wire nails would be immediately suspended for three years and tariffs on other materials such as roofing, cladding, insulation and paint would be dropped from 1 July 2014, to be reviewed in five years.
Written by Global Gypsum staff
15 May 2014
US: Eagle Materials Inc has reported financial results for fiscal year 2014, which ended on 31 March 2014. Company revenues were up by 40% year-on-year to US$898.4m and net earnings grew by 50% year-on-year to US$200m, reflecting improved sales volumes and stronger sales prices across all business lines. Annual revenue and earnings improvement also reflects the acquisition of assets, including cement plants in Missouri and Oklahoma on 30 November 2012.
Fiscal 2014 operating earnings from gypsum wallboard and paperboard grew by 46% year-on-year to US$138.5m. Revenues from gypsum wallboard and paperboard were up by 22% year-on-year at US$465.1m.
Gypsum wallboard and paperboard fourth quarter operating earnings were US$29.0m, up by 9% from the same quarter of fiscal 2013. The increase in operating earnings was due to higher wallboard sales prices and volumes, which were offset by US$1.5m maintenance costs, US$1.3m legal costs and US$0.9m natural gas costs, all of which grew compared with fiscal 2013. Gypsum wallboard and paperboard revenues for the fourth quarter grew by 11% year-on-year to US$106.3m. Wallboard sales volumes were up by 2% year-on-year to 442Mft2 and paperboard sales volumes for the quarter grew by 4% year-on-year to 59,000t.
Written by Global Gypsum staff
13 May 2014
US: Continental Building Products, a manufacturer of gypsum wallboard and complementary finishing products, has announced its results for the first quarter of 2014, which ended on 31 March 2014.
Net sales increased by 4.2% to US$87.0m in the first quarter of 2014, up from US$83.5m for the same period of 2013. Adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were US$20.2m, unchanged from 2013, operating income was US$6.3m, down from US$10.0m in 2013 and adjusted net loss was US$0.6m, compared to a net income of US$9.8m in 2013. Wallboard sales volumes were flat at 438Mft2 due to adverse weather conditions. Lower wallboard sales volumes in Canada offset a 2.2% increase in US sales volumes.
"We achieved strong price gains in the first quarter of 2014 amid flat volumes, which were unfavourably impacted by adverse weather conditions in many of our markets in the eastern US," said Ike Preston, Continental's CEO. "Our adjusted EBITDA was stable compared to a year ago as our improvement in sales was offset primarily by higher energy costs. As we move forward in 2014, we believe the long-term recovery in housing markets remains in place and that we are well positioned to grow our business and leverage our low cost as demand improves."