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Written by Global Gypsum staff
Wednesday 10 April 2013
US: More than a dozen lawsuits alleging price-fixing on the part of major manufacturers of wallboard have been consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The location was chosen as most of the parties are located in the area and a majority of the parties advocated for consolidation in that district. US District Judge Michael Baylson will handle the case.
"From at least September 2011 to the present the defendants, manufacturers of gypsum board, combined and conspired to fix and raise the prices at which they sold gypsum board in the United States beginning with large and coordinated price increases that all became effective on or about 1 or 2 January 2012," according to the complaint filed in one case originating in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Janicki Drywall versus CertainTeed.
Major manufacturers of wallboard have annual sales of more than US$5bn, according to the complaint and the defendants are seeking treble damages. The defendants in the suit account for more than 99% of wallboard sold in North America, according to the complaint. They are USG, National Gypsum, CertainTeed, Georgia-Pacific, American Gypsum, Lafarge, Temple-Inland and PABCO.
In a previous status conference for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania cases, Steven Bizar of Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney was named as interim liaison counsel for the defence, while H Laddie Montague Jr of Berger & Montague had been named interim liaison counsel for the plaintiffs.
Belgium: Etex Group reports that its revenue rose by 38% to Euro3.17bn in 2012 compared to Euro2.30bn in 2011. The building materials group said that the stable revenue reflected some volume losses with sustained margins.
"Despite the economic circumstances, Etex performed well in 2012. The free cash flow generated will enable us to continue to invest substantially in promising segments," commented Fons Peeters, CEO of Etex.
Etex's operating income rose by 65% to Euro290m in 2012 from Euro176m in 2011. Its profit rose by 73% to Euro152m from Euro88m.
In 2012 Siniat's European gypsum business was integrated within Etex, making the group's Cladding and Building Boards the biggest of Etex's four business segments. This segment saw its revenue rise from Euro614m in 2011 to Euro1.46bn in 2012.
By region for its gypsum business, Etex noted in its annual report that Western Europe was affected by difficult macro-economic conditions, particularly in France. In Eastern Europe, Poland and Ukraine saw stable market demand and Romania and the Balkan states had investment to support growth. Siniat Latin America showed 'good' progress in 2012 with investments in Brazil and Peru on the way.
Written by Global Cement staff
Thursday 28 March 2013
US: Progress on two new flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) projects in Colorado and Indiana have been announced. Neumann Systems Group has completed 60% of its US$73.5m contract to install an emissions scrubbing system at the Martin Drake Power Plant in Colorado and the first stage of the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corporation's US$670m pollution-control project at the Clifty Creek plant in Indiana is now operational. Both of these projects will increase the supply of FGD gypsum in the US.
Neumann Systems Group has a 2011 contract worth US$121m to design, build and install an emission-scrubbing system on two of the Martin Drake Power Plant's three power production units. The NeuStream system is designed to remove more than 95% of the sulphur dioxide from the emissions of the two units, as required by US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rules that take effect in 2017, and convert it to gypsum that can be sold for fertiliser and building materials.
At the Indiana-Kentucky Electric Corporation's Clifty Creek Power plant in Indiana, plant officials announced that one of its two new flue gas desulphurisation scrubbers has begun feeding exhaust gas to produce cleaner emissions. These scrubbers will remove up to 98% of sulphur dioxide emissions creating synthetic gypsum. The Clifty Creek plant has six 217MW units that will feed to two scrubbers. The second scrubber is scheduled to begin operations in May 2013. The project began in 2007 but was postponed from 2009 to 2011 due to the economic downturn.
Written by Global Gypsum staff
Tuesday 19 March 2013
China: Beijing New Building Materials Public Co Ltd (BNBM) has announced that it plans to invest US$58m to build three gypsum wallboard projects in China. BNBM, part of the massive state-controlled China National Building Material Co Ltd (CNBM) said that it will construct the plants to expand the domestic market for wallboard. In addition, the company will build a product development centre using a total investment of US$108m.
UK: Saint-Gobain, the French building materials giant, has opened its new innovation centre on Great Portland Street in London, UK to showcase the company's products. Showcasing innovative and sustainable products, the centre contains product libraries and resources for specifiers alongside meeting spaces and conference facilities. The centre will display products from Saint-Gobain's many UK businesses, including Artex, British Gypsum, Ecophon, Saint-Gobain Glass, Isover, Pasquill and Weber.
Models of construction products and solutions provide a better understanding of how systems work in practice, whilst screens showcase products, solutions and other Saint-Gobain initiatives.
Speaking at the launch, Saint-Gobain's CEO Pierre-André de Chalendar said, "With this new Innovation Centre, Saint-Gobain opens up to professionals with a global vision of our market to help develop and stimulate research. This Innovation Centre reflects our ambition to become the reference for sustainable habitat, bringing innovative solutions to meet the main challenges of our time."