Building materials manufacturer and distributor Fletcher Building Ltd. has combined its Laminex Group and Formica Group businesses under a new laminates and panels division.
Mark Adamson, president and CEO of Formica Group, has been appointed CEO of the new division, and will be responsible for both brands.
The move follows Formica's announcement of its plan to build a new laminates plant in China to capitalize on its Asian market success.
The plant in Jiujiang, China, will double the business' capacity in China and allow for additional market growth.
It will manufacture high-pressure laminate to support demand in China and other Asian markets. The facility, to be completed in 2013, will be more than 500,000 square feet and will employ about 400 people.
The Jiujiang plant will be Formica's second in China and its 11th worldwide.
“The commercial construction boom, coupled with the massive construction of government-subsidized housing projects, has accelerated demand for laminate. The Chinese market, already twice the size of the U.S. market, continues to grow by 15 percent a year,” Adamson said.
Auckland-based Fletcher now has six divisions: building products, distribution, infrastructure, laminates and panels, steel and its newly acquired Crane Group.
Fletcher supplies building products and construction materials and related services to customers in Australasia, Asia, the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East.
The Formica and Laminex branded products are plastic layered panels used for bench tops, doors, cabinets, floors and furniture. The laminates are manufactured in sheet form and made from layers of resin-impregnated paper, bonded together under heat and pressure.
Formica has 27 distribution facilities in Asia, Europe and North America. Laminex manufactures and markets laminated surfaces for bench tops, doors and furniture at eight facilities in Australia and New Zealand.
Fletcher said in a statement it plans to “pursue synergies” between Formica and Laminex, particularly in product development, technology, systems and customers.
David Surveyor, formerly acting CEO of Laminex, is now Laminex executive general manager and will report directly to Adamson.
In the financial year ended June 30, Formica's operating earnings were US$41.5 million, 65 percent higher than the US$25 million earned the previous year. The company attributed that to Asian growth and a cost-reduction program. Although U.S. and European markets remained weak, Asian sales were up 9 percent.
In May, Fletcher finalized its acquisition of plastic pipe and copper tubing manufacturer and distributor Crane Group Ltd.
At the time, Fletcher's CEO Jonathan Ling said the company wanted to take advantage of the businesses' “complementary nature.”
“We will focus on driving and investing for growth and cementing our position [in] Australasia,” Ling said.