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Written by Global Gypsum staff
Friday 22 June 2012
US: In one of the most important steps in the saga over allegedly-tainted Chinese-made wallboard, attorneys have announced that a US$13m settlement has been reached between homeowners in Virginia, whose properties were built with the product and some of the companies they sued.
The settlement involves companies that imported and sold the wallboard as well as numerous other firms involved in the cases and around 200 local homeowners.
Federal product-safety regulators have found that the wallboard emits gases that corrode metal in homes and recommended that such wallboard be removed, although the legal battle over who will pay to fix the properties is now in its 38th month. Many homeowners have already abandoned their properties or lost them through foreclosure or bankruptcy. Others have sold their homes, sometimes for less than half of what they paid.
In July 2012 the settlement will go before a federal judge in New Orleans for a preliminary approval, with a final approval possible by 13 November 2012.
India: The Revenue Department of India has imposed an antidumping duty of up to US$51.7/m3 on the import of certain type of gypsum boards from China, Indonesia, Thailand and the United Arab Emirates in order to protect domestic players from cheaper shipments.The duty will remain in force for six months.
The restrictive duty was levied after it was recommended by the Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD). In its probe the DGAD had concluded that, "the product had been exported to India from the subject countries below associated normal values and the domestic industry had suffered material injury."
The DGAD conducted the probe after a complaint from Saint-Gobain Gyproc India which accounts for about 80% of the domestic production of India's gypsum boards.
During January-December 2010 (the investigation period) imports from the four countries had increased by 194% per cent compared to 2007-08. India has initiated 275 anti-dumping investigations between 1992 and March 2012, involving over imports from more than 40 countries.
Written by Global Gypsum staff
Thursday 07 June 2012
China: Beijing New Building Materials has announced plans to build three gypsum board lines in Tianjin, Quanzhou of Fujian province and Liaocheng of Shandong province with a total investment of over US$62.9m.
The Tianjin project is a 50Mm2 plasterboard production line. Products from the project will be sold to Tianjin, Beijing, Tangshan, Qinhuangdao, Cangzhou, Dalian and overseas markets. The company plans to set up a wholly owned subsidiary with a planned registered capital of US$7.9m in Tianjin to run the project, which will also include a steel plant. The Quanzhou project will be a 30Mm2 plasterboard production line using FGD gypsum. Products will be sold to Fujian, eastern Guangdong and Taiwan.
Australia: Mining corporation Rio Tinto has blocked a bid by Australian billionaire Len Buckeridge to win control of its gypsum deposits near Carnarvon, Western Australia by announcing it is restarting its ancillary operations at its mine.
Buckeridge, who is worth an estimated US$2.5bn and runs an integrated industrial empire that is one of the biggest homebuilders in Australia, wrote to the State Government in March 2012, demanding that Rio Tinto either restart its operations in Lake MacLeod near Carnarvon or hand over the gypsum rights to him under state agreements, which demand that companies 'use or lose' their deposits. Buckeridge's company supplies about 7% of the subdued Eastern States plasterboard market and more than half of Western Australia's needs, with CSR the other big producer.
Managing director of Rio's Dampier Salt subsidiary, Denise Goldsworthy, said that it had shuttered its Lake MacLeod gypsum operation because it was not financially viable, but booming demand in Asia, and Buckeridge's approach, had caused a rethink.
"Based on the company's projections of medium-term trends for gypsum, primarily in South-East Asia and Australia, Dampier Salt has decided to commence working through the State Government approvals process to resume its own gypsum mining operation targeted at these markets," Goldsworthy said. Dampier Salt gave no deadline for when gypsum would be mined again at the site.
China: German construction group Knauf is currently expanding its business in China as the local housing market booms. Knauf produces 65mm2/yr of plasterboard at its three existing plants in China. With a new facility in Greater Shanghai the production capacity will increase by more than 50%.
However, Knauf is facing heavy competition from two local state firms which have considerably larger production capacities. The German company intends to fight this with a long-term strategy envisaging investments in its own plants and training of drywall finishers and distributors.
Knauf, which entered the Chinese market in 1997.