News

May 2022: Atlas Plan achieves NSF certification for food contact

Atlas Plan porcelain stoneware slabs have obtained prestigious NSF certification for suitability for food contact.  The NSF certification recognises Atlas Plan products as ‘Food Equipment Material’ according to all the high standards of the American National Standard for Food Equipment, an independent organisation that certifies products for the food area in North America and globally.

This important recognition confirms the safety of Atlas Plan surfaces and underlines the suitability for domestic applications, but especially in the catering world.

Atlas Plan porcelain stoneware is a hygienic material that is resistant to high temperatures, thermal shock and chemicals and is not subject to colour changes.

More at: https://www.atlasplan.com/

May 2022: Qualicer debate: The Electric Factory

Qualicer 2022 – the world ceramic tile technical and quality congress – will feature an important and topical panel debate on The Electric Factory. 

The rapid increase in energy costs, and global Sustainable Development Goals, are pushing the tile industry to seek viable energy alternatives.  Fully electrifying the ceramic tile and slab manufacturing process, accompanied by process redesign to improve energy efficiency and reduce total energy consumption, can be key to completely suppressing the use of natural gas and meeting European decarbonisation targets.  This debate will look at the current state of this technology and how to ensure stable supplies of renewable electric power.

Scheduled for 21st June at 17.00pm, it will be chaired by Gustavo Mallol, Director of The Ceramic Industry Research Association.  Participants will include Jose Vicente Tomás, General Director, Kerajet; José Martínez-Mingote, Operations Manager, Levantina Group; and Joaquín Longares, Commercial Director, Iberdrola.

More at: https://www.qualicer.org/en/

May 2022: UK Topps Tiles sees contract sales rise and boosts online presence

Topps Tiles, the UK’s largest tile specialist, has published its unaudited financial results for the 26 weeks to 2nd April 2022.

They show first half turnover of £119 million, supported by ongoing strength of the UK RMI sector and successful growth strategy to deliver goal of ‘1 in 5 by 2025’

They reflect the creation of a new online stream through acquisition of Pro Tiler and the recent launch of Tile Warehouse, a new online-only tile brand targeting the value conscious homeowner.  They also record strong growth in commercial revenue, up 24% to £5.0 million

Commenting on the results, Rob Parker, Chief Executive said:  “The Group has delivered record first half revenues against a backdrop of continued robust demand for home improvements.  While supply chain and inflation headwinds strengthened in the period, we are managing these challenges effectively overall and believe we remain well positioned relative to many of our competitors.”

“We are pleased to announce the launch of Tile Warehouse, a new online-only brand which brings everyday low prices to homeowners.  This builds on the acquisition of Pro Tiler Ltd in March and forms the basis for a new, high growth, online-only sales channel, leveraging our core strengths in product, service and scale.”

“Looking ahead, we are mindful of the growing burden on consumers from inflation and rising interest rates as well as ongoing supply chain challenges, however, we remain confident in our strategy and medium term growth prospects.”

More at: https://www.toppstiles.co.uk

May 2022: Iris Ceramica Group obtain Cradle to Cradle certification

Iris Ceramica Group has obtained Cradle to Cradle Certified Silver certification issued by The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.  This is hailed as “the world’s most advanced, science-based standard for the design and production of safe, circular and responsible products today, that enable a healthy, equitable, and sustainable tomorrow.”

The assessment is based on five categories of sustainability performance: Material Health: Product Circularity: Clean Air and Climate Protection: Water and Soil Stewardship: and Social Fairness.

More at: www.active-ceramic.com or www.irisceramicagroup.com

May 2022: New report on ceramic panel market

The Large Format Ceramic Panel Market report from Verified reveals some of the key insights, and focuses on the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. It claims to provide an in-depth understanding of how new product offerings can fit into the marketplace.

Quantitative research methods are used to provide accurate market data and problem-solving.  The report helps to identify the major regions such as Asia Pacific, North America, Europe, Middle East, Africa, and Latin America where new players and merchants can expand their business. Additionally, it performs in-depth analysis, and provides market size, market dynamics, and market share.

Key players covered include: RAK Ceramics, Panariagroup Industrie Ceram, Marazzi, Florim, Levantina, Neolith, Granitifiandre, Laminam, ABK Group, Gruppo Concorde, Porcelanosa, and Emil Group.

Get a discount on this report here.

May 2022: UK Cosentino champions sustainability at CDW

The flagship architecture and design centre for Cosentino UK, Cosentino City London is hosting a plethora of must-attend events, workshops and talks throughout Clerkenwell Design Week (24-26 May 2022).  Situated at 28-32 Old Street, Cosentino City London is located in the heart of the design festival.

The main initiative will be Cosentino’s ‘Dekton Drop Boxes’.  Together with Clerkenwell Design Week, Cosentino has created letter box style bins which will be clad in its revolutionary, carbon neutral surface Dekton Trilium, and placed in and around Clerkenwell.  Cosentino is encouraging all visitors to post their used maps so they can be re-purposed for a creative initiative.  Each box will include a description of the project, and simply requires visitors to pop their map in to be re-purposed, along with their business card for an automatic entry into a luxury prize draw where the winner will win a meal for two worth £200 at Maison Bab.

After Clerkenwell Design Week, Cosentino will be collaborating with sustainable artist Emmely Elgersma(@emmely) to upcycle the material collected into a paper mâché sculpture.  An event will then be hosted in its City Showroom throughout the summer to exhibit what has been created – before moving on to a display at the Museum of London.

More at: https://www.cosentino.com/en

May 2022: UK UK project-starts remain low as consumer confidence weakens

The central finding of Glenigan’s May 2022 edition of its Construction Review is that project starts are being significantly hindered by mounting inflationary pressures and dwindling consumer confidence.  The construction industry is still struggling to overcome the effects of ongoing supply chain issues, predominantly caused by a set of seismic, ongoing global events.  With material and labour costs continuing to rise to eye-watering levels, it seems any hope of respite will, unfortunately be a long time coming.

The value of work commencing on-site averaged £5,641 million per month in the three months to April, falling 17% compared with the preceding three months, to stand a third lower than the same period in 2021.

Breaking it down, major projects (>£100 Million) experienced very weak performance, falling 68% against the previous three months and 67% compared to 2021.  Underlying projects (<£100 Million) experienced a more modest decline of 1% in the three months to April, and were down by over a fifth (21%) against last year.

Offering a small glimmer of hope, the overall value of detailed planning approvals experienced an increase of 13% against the preceding three months, but remained 6% lower than 2021.

More at: www.glenigan.com

May 2022: UK Caesarstone launches Master of Stone

Master of Stone – a health and safety, and professional standards, training programme for fabricators – has been launched in the UK by Caesarstone .  It includes an online training centre that covers multiple topics including health and safety, professional know- how, and value add content for fabrication plant managers.  The programme is free and available for use by everyone in the industry.

The Master of Stone e-learning modules cover areas such as air monitoring, water integrated machinery, respiratory protective equipment, and installation safety.  They can be easily accessed on any PC, laptop, tablet, or mobile phone. 

To gain access to the Master of Stone online training centre – and additional health and safety information – contact your local sales representative or email info@caesarstone.co.uk.

More at: www.caesarstone.co.uk

May 2022: USA Architessa: Porcelain slab masterclass

On Thursday 9th June from 6 to 8pm (local time: 5 hours behind GMT), DTA’s followers are invited to join Architessa for a Panel Discussion on Large Format Porcelain at Architessa’s Rockville showroom in Maryland, USA.  A set of experts will share their knowledge on this exciting new product which is popular in Europe and gaining momentum here in the USA.   The panel features David Benson, President, Architessa; Solomon Bernstein, Regional Sales Manager, Counter-Culture; Mark Klingensmith, President, Fairmont Designs Hospitality; Chris Walker, VP Northwest Region, David Allen Co and Chairman of the National Tile Contractors Association; and Dave Bouchar, Operations Manager, EmilAmerica, a leading manufacturer of large format porcelain slabs.

E: anna@architessa.com.

W: https://architessa.com/

May 2022: USA Mosaic Companies unveils its new East Coast distribution hub

Mosaic Companies, the fast-growing US-based manufacturer and distributor of natural stones, slabs, and tile, has unveiled plans for a new warehouse and distribution hub in Miami.  Located in the Countyline Corporate Park in Hialeah, the new facility will increase Mosaic Companies’ east coast warehouse footprint by nearly double and support all Mosaic Companies brands, including Walker Zanger, Opustone, Surfaces, and Anthology Tile.  The location will also host a new Anthology Tile showroom, as well as the company’s corporate office personnel.   The new hub is expected to be fully operational by late Autumn 2022.

More at: http://mc.llc

May 2022: UK Demand prompts Talasey relocation

Consistent sales growth over the last few years meant that landscaping supply company Talasey had outgrown its site near Doncaster, prompting the move to a new four acre site at St Vincent House, Normanby Road, Scunthorpe.

As well as having plenty of workspace for the Talasey team, St Vincent House has conference facilities, entertaining spaces, and even nine en-suite rooms for visitors staying overnight.  It also has 1.5 acres of mature landscaped gardens that will showcase the company’s wide portfolio of landscaping products.

More at: https://talasey.co.uk/

May 2022: UK/Italy Ceramics of Italy participates in Clerkenwell Design Week for the first time

 For the first time ever, the Italian ceramic industry and the Italian Trade Agency ITA are participating as Event Partners at Clerkenwell Design Week, from 24th to 26th May 2022, St. John’s Square, London. In a new exhibition called Covered, ITA London has organised a dedicated Ceramics of Italy space that will host nine Italian ceramic companies: Cerdomus, FAP Ceramiche, Ceramiche Keope, Litokol, Mirage Granito Ceramico, Ceramiche Refin, Gruppo Ceramiche Ricchetti, Ceramica Sant’Agostino, and Ceramiche Settecento-Valtresinaro. On Tuesday 24th May Cristina Faedi will discuss the latest trends in Italian ceramics.  There will also be talks by Giovanni Sacchi from ITA London, Marco Pavoni, associate architect at Zaha Hadid Architects, and Annabella Nasetti, creative director of Living Concept Int.

More at: https://www.ceramica.info/en/

May 2022: Italy Gruppo Romani invests in energy efficiency

Gruppo Romani has invested invests approximately Euro 8 million to address an unstable international scenario which requires the speeding up of production plants’ energy efficiency, and shows once again its commitment to put into practice the environmental sensitivity expressed by its respect for the territory in which it works.

“The company’s commitment to produce increasingly green ceramics was made a long time ago,”: explain Giorgio and Paolo Romani, Gruppo Romani’s President and CEO, “and we are pursuing it.”

In Rubiera, a new cogeneration system has been installed.  It is a gas turbine with nominal electric power generation equal to 6 MW which will enable to produce 35,000,000 kWh/year of electricity, recovering exhaust gases, as heat energy, inside two existing atomisers.  In addition, a new photovoltaic system will be operational by September.

At the Roteglia plant, PV panels with a total installed capacity of 700 kWp and a self-generation of electricity equal to 800,000 kWh/year, will be placed on the production building’s roof, reducing the site’s electricity consumption by 15%.

In Casalgrande, photovoltaic panels with a total capacity of 400 kWp and a self-generation of electricity equal to 500,000 kWh/year will be installed; the supplied power will enable to reduce current electricity consumption by 60%.

Visit: https://www.grupporomanispa.com/

May 2022: Spain Spanish glaze and frit producers fret over raw material costs

The Spanish ceramic frit, glaze, and colour producers are becoming increasingly concerned about their ability to remain profitable in the face of steadily increasing costs of essential raw materials, energy, and transport.

As reported by the chairman of the industry’s trade association ANFFECC, Joaquín Font de Mora, key components of glaze and colour formulations have seen double or triple digit price rises over the past 12 months.

“The price of cobalt oxide has increased by 210%, praseodymium oxide by 320%, zirconium oxide by 90%, zirconium silicate by 75%, chromium oxide and barium carbonate by 80%, zinc oxide and titanium oxide by around 60%, and quartz, kaolin and feldspars by between 40% and 60%,” says Font de Mora.

Raw materials represent one of the Spanish colour manufacturers’ biggest costs and are all imported and difficult to replace with other materials. Moreover, the fact that they are listed on international stock markets means that their prices fluctuate unpredictably.  But as ANFFECC states, “sometimes it is the producers themselves who limit supplies with the aim of intentionally distorting the market.”

These increases, compounded by soaring energy costs, “are creating uncertainty and are having a direct impact both on the balance sheets of industry companies and on their ability to invest in R&D”, says Font de Mora. “The dollar-euro exchange rate is also not helping, with the stronger US dollar making our purchases in this currency more expensive.”

Source: https://ceramicworldweb.com

May 2022: TTA Awards 2022 shortlist

The Tile Assopciatioin has announced the shortlist for this year’s Awards!  The online vote is now open, so DTA readers are urged to vote for your favourites.

TTA Awards 2022 will take place at The Hilton Birmingham Metropole on Friday 24th June 2022. For more information email awards@tile.org.uk or call 0300 365 8453.

Best Commercial Project – Small (up to 250 sq. m)
Digital Ceramics Custom Tiles – Tiresford B&B, Tarporley
Pro-Tilers UK Wall & Floor Ltd – Tribeca House
Schlüter Systems – Thornbury Castle
W Rodgerson and Sons – Montagu Avenue, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Best Commercial Project – Large (over 250 sq. m)
N&C Moderna – East Wick and Sweetwater development
Norcros Adhesives – Beckworth Emporium, Northampton
Schlüter Systems – The School of Architecture and Built Environment (SoABE)
The Great Northern Tiling Company – Center Parcs, Nottinghamshire
WB Simpson & Sons (Midlands) Ltd – Three Snow Hill

Best Domestic Project
A&L Tiling Ltd
ARDEX UK
Digital Ceramics Custom Tiles
Harbour Design Interiors Ltd
Hoffman Tiling & Bathrooms Ltd.
JACKOBOARD®
Palace Chemicals Ltd
Pro-Tilers UK Wall & Floor Ltd
Schlüter-Systems – West Beach
South Coast Stone

Best E-Commerce Website/App
Tile Choice Ltd
Topps Tiles
Total Tiles

Best Environmental Initiative
Bedrock Tiles
Nicholls and Clarke
Palace Chemicals Ltd
Parkside Architectural Tiles & Strata Technical Tiles
Royal Mosa Bv
UltraTile
Best Heritage Project
D.M.Brazier & Co
Pro-Tilers UK Wall & Floor Ltd
Victorian Tiling Wales

Best Innovation
BAL – Waterproof 1C
Creative Stone & Tile – Media Unit
Mapei UK – ULTRACARE
RAK Ceramics – Kilma
STS Ltd – NoMorePly TG4 Floorboard
Employee of the Year
ARDEX and BAL – Stacey Livett
DURAL UK – Jack Troth
JACKON UK – Jess West
Marabese Ceramics – Richard Hayes
Palace Chemicals Ltd – Simon Clough

Excellence in Marketing
BAL
Mapei UK Ltd
Schlüter-Systems
Tile Choice
Tile Giant
UltraTile
Verona

Excellence in Retail
Creative Stone & Tile
EMC Tiles
ESP Bathrooms Ltd
Tile Choice
Topps Tiles

Excellence in Supply & Services
Armatile
Craven Dunnill
Freelands Tiles
Pro Tiler Tools
UltraTile

Floor Tile of the Year
EMC Tiles – More
Nicholls & Clarke – The Lavish Collection
RAK Ceramics – Tech Marble
Royal Mosa Bv – Stage
Tile Giant – Bellagio

Wall Tile of the Year
Craven Dunnill Group – Burleigh Calico Collection
EMC Tiles – The Room
Nicholls & Clarke – The Botanical range
RAK Ceramics – Preziosi
Verona – Grande

Tile Fixer of the Year
Adrian O’Clements – A&L Tiling Ltd
Craig Scott – W Rodgerson and Sons
Daniel Tapper – Tapper Tiling
Shane Collins – Harbour Design Interiors Ltd
Excellence in Tile Contracting
N&C Moderna
Pro-Tilers UK Wall & Floor Ltd
Stortford Tiling and Marble

More at: www.ttaawards.com

May 2022: Victoria plc adopts Digital Design’s RPD software

Digital Design, a SITI B&T Group member company specialising in digital design projects and graphic processes, is establishing itself as a supplier of customised colour profiling and management systems for digital printing.  Its innovative RPD (Remote Product Development) software, developed with MProject Consulting, was recently adopted by Victoria plc, the UK-based flooring group which operates in the ceramic tile sector in Italy, Spain, and Turkey with the Ascot, Dom, Serra, Keradom, Vallelunga, Capri, Colli, Casabella, Casainfinita, Keraben, Metropol, Saloni, Ibero, and Graniser brands.

RPD optimises product development and subsequent production processes by reducing prototyping time and improving graphic design quality.  It is a user-friendly programme designed to optimise product development and subsequent production processes.  The software is able to generate profiles that improve the quality of the graphic designs by enhancing colours and details without sacrificing flexibility, thus allowing them to be transferred rapidly to the same or different production lines.  As well as reducing prototyping time and print tests, RPD also results in significant savings in ink usage and printer maintenance.

Source: https://ceramicworldweb.com.

May 2022: UK VitrA explores the power of colour at Clerkenwell Design Week

VitrA brings the immersive art installation Colour Rush to Clerkenwell Design Week as part of the global bathroom brand’s year-long cultural programme around the theme of colour.

“We’re delighted to be part of Clerkenwell Design Week in 2022, alongside some of the best names from the creative industry,” says Margaret Talbot, VitrA Regional Marketing Manager Europe and UK.

“The 2022 Festival marks a double celebration for VitrA as it’s also the first birthday of our VitrA London hub located in the heart of the design district.  We’re delighted to welcome the A&D community and beyond to experience engaging talks and events and see our latest products showcased in an inspiring space alongside the latest technology for specifiers.”

Talbot adds, “Colour is central to our cultural programme in 2022, with a stellar line-up of commentators, experts and practitioners joining us to explore all things colour. Watch this space!”

The VitrA London showroom is situated in Clerkenwell’s award-winning Turnmill Building by Piercy & Co, with showroom interior by TP Bennett. As part of this year’s festival, VitrA has commissioned internationally acclaimed artist Lothar Götz to create the site-specific installation Colour Rush.  A reflection on the act of seeing itself, the artwork is experienced from inside and outside, subtly shifting perceptions of space, colour and objects as the light changes over time.

“The shapes in Colour Rush are about connecting what’s already there; the geometries created by our own eyes when we look at buildings and spaces. Like a three-dimensional painting, the artwork creates abstract space,” says Götz.

For more information, visit: london.vitra.co.uk/events.

To browse the latest collections from VitrA visit vitra.co.uk.

May 2022: India 16th Indian Ceramics Asian bset for March 2023

1st to 3rd March 2023 will witness the 16th Indian Ceramics Asian exhibition at Helipad Exhibition Centre, Gandhinagar, India. Run by Messe Muenchen India and Unifair Exhibition Service, this global platform for the Indian ceramic and brick industry will atrtact buyers from around the globe to Gujarat.

Contacts:
Amita Singh, Deputy Project Director, Messe Muenchen India
E: amita.singh@mm-india.in

Europe
Alexa Cordioli, Project Manager, Messe Muenchen
E: alexa.cordioli@messe-muenchen.de

Asia
Ken Wong, Unifair Exhibition
E: ken@unifair.com

W: www.indian-ceramics.com

May 2022: Italy The Italian tile industry is weathering the “perfect storm”

A recent report in Ceramic World Review (12th May 2022) was quite upbeat on the impact of the uncertainties surrounding gas prices, and Ukrainian clay shortanges.

The West’s embargo on Russia is severely disrupting the flows of cheap gas needed to keep kilns running, while the destruction of all business activities and logistics flows in the Ukrainian region of Donbass has brought the best supplies of high-quality clays for Italian tile production literally to a standstill.  Two million tonnes of raw materials a year were previously shipped from Mariupol to the port of Ravenna, meeting about a quarter of the Sassuolo district’s clay and kaolin needs.  For the Italian ceramic industry, the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine has proved to be the “perfect storm” in a situation that has been deteriorating since mid-2021 amid soaring energy costs (up fivefold in the space of a year) and ETS quotas (European CO2 emission certificates) which have now reached €100.

And yet the fears of a full-blown catastrophe that would force the industry to entirely halt production have proved unfounded.  In March, 30 Italian ceramic companies had applied for redundancy funding for a total of 4,000 workers, but only a small portion of these were actually used because surging demand for Italian tiles prompted manufacturers to quickly restart their kilns to avoid losing market share, despite this placing a huge burden on their balance sheets and forcing them to postpone their margin analyses until next year.

“Not only are we all currently operating at full capacity, but we are also astonished at the response we have received from our customers. We haven’t lost a single order despite the 10-20% price increase we have had to apply in order to at least partly offset our higher costs,” says Confindustria Ceramica chairman Giovanni Savorani.

The Italian producers are even regaining competitiveness against their Spanish counterparts, who are now facing the same problems of skyrocketing bills and rationed clays but with average tile prices that are half those of the Italian producers (€7/sqm against €14/sqm), making it much more difficult for them to pass on the proportionately higher production costs downstream.

“The first Turkish ship loaded with clays, kaolins and feldspars to replace Ukrainian raw materials for mid-range production docked at the port of Ravenna in April, and four more are due to arrive by September. As for high-quality materials required for premium products such as porcelain slabs, the first shipload of raw materials has just left India and a second is already scheduled”, says Villiam Tioli, Chairman of Caolino Panciera, the largest supplier of raw materials to the Sassuolo tile district.

“Ukrainian clays will no longer be able to arrive because ports, bridges and railways have been destroyed and it will take time to rebuild them and return to normality,” explains Tioli. “In the meantime, the situation is far from simple,” he adds. “This is not just because Indian clays are far more expensive and the euro-dollar exchange rate is further driving up our costs, but also because Turkish producers and the government are beginning to react to the higher demand by imposing new export licences, rationing supplies and increasing prices.”

“We have succeeded in finding clay in India with a similar level of quality to that of Ukraine, but it has cost us 40% more,” says Roberto Fabbri, Chairman of the ABK Group. “However, as long as the cost of natural gas remains below €1 per cubic metre, we can keep our margins out of negative territory.  Problems would really start in the event of a complete ban on Russian gas imports, as we have calculated that this would result in a cost of €1.5 per cubic metre, an unsustainable level for an energy-intensive industry like ours and one that would have catastrophic consequences for the Sassuolo district. Russian gas will continue to be indispensable for another 6-7 months.”

“Last year gas consumption cost us €10 million, whereas this year the figure will reach €50 million.  And although our turnover is expected to increase further to more than €300 million, we are looking at an exorbitant impact of gas on our revenues,” comments Graziano Verdi, CEO of Italcer Group, which in April reported a record 70% year-on-year surge in orders due to the higher demand and a 25% increase in prices.

This article first appeared in Ceramic World Review #146. 
More at: https://ceramicworldweb.com

May 2022: Spain Qualicer goes ahead and will be held on 20th and 21st June 2022

Despite the fact that Cevisama has been forced to cancel its 2022 edition due to the serious energy crisis and shortages in the ceramic sector, Qualicer run from 20th to 21st June as planned.

Qualicer is a world congress at which international ceramic technicians present their latest innovations, and leading figures share the latest trends and perspectives in the sector.

The Organizing Committee is currently confirming the last featured sessions and participations to close its programme.  Confirmed featured sessions: include New! The Electric Factor; The Ceramic Industry in the Challenge of Sustainability through Resource Efficiency; and The Globalization of the Ceramic Tile Quality

More at: https://www.qualicer.org/

May 2022: Germany Red Dot award ceremony set for Essen on 20th June

On 20th June 2022, the achievements of this year’s winners of Red Dot Award: Product Design will be officially recognised at a ceremony in Essen’s opera house.  The awards will be presented by Professor Dr. Peter Zec, Founder and CEO of the Red Dot Award in the Aalto Theater.  Three high-profile Red Dot jurors will assist Peter Zec on the evening.

More at: www.red-dot.de

May 2022: USA Luxury residential complex rewarded

The Rheingold-Bushwick project – carried out in Brooklyn, New York, by Studio Durukan Design – has won the Tile Competition 2022, presented at the recent Coverings exhibition.

Bushwick-Rheingold introduces a covetable community in its 35,000 sq. metres of interior space.  The project required creating a co-living environment to not only inspire active daily use by its residents, but also to create a community alluring enough to entice high-end renters to move in from outside of Bushwick.  This was done by creating six different Amenity Zones including: Common, Social, Art, Play, Wellness and Work.

Ceramiche Refin plays a leading role in a design that embraces the influences of the art scene and the area’s industrial roots, and its collections perfectly interpret the underground style and contribute to emphasizing the eclectic mood of the creation: Design Industry, in Oxyde finish, evoking the patinated effect of oxidized metals (selected in the two variants Dark and Light), Plant, is configured as a wood-concrete with délabré style also expressed in the Ash shade.

The Rheingold was also awarded as the best Co-Living Complex of the Year – People’s Choice Award by Frame Magazine.

May 2022: UK UK construction growth “unlikely to continue”

Despite an impressive performance in the first quarter of the year, the UK’s construction industry is facing severe headwinds that will impact on growth in the coming quarters, says GlobalData.

GlobalData currently forecasts that construction output growth will stand at 3.4% in 2022 as a whole, which means that – in constant prices terms – output will just be marginally below the 2019 level.  However, the downside risks to the outlook have intensified given the sharp increase in prices for key construction materials, supply chain bottlenecks, and higher energy costs.

Danny Richards, Construction Analyst at GlobalData, comments: “Construction output in the UK has continued to edge higher in recent quarters having rebounded quickly in late 2020 following the slump in Q2 2020.  However, concerns are mounting over the surge in prices for key construction materials and energy, which is expected to constrain construction output growth in the coming quarters, along with an increasingly gloomy outlook for the UK economy amid rising interest rates.”

According to the latest data published by the Office for National Statistics, construction output was up by 7.4% year-on-year (YoY).  New infrastructure construction work has been the key driver of construction output growth recently and expanded by 19.5% Y-o-Y in Q1 2022.   The residential construction sector has also continued to recover, jumping by 6.9% Y-o-Y but has yet to return to pre-pandemic levels, being 4.4% lower than Q3 2019.

Global data

May 2022: Tiles for all pool applications

Aquatechnica system-based tiles are now available exclusively through Parkside Architectural Tiles and Strata Technical Tiles offering solutions for competition, spa, health club, and domestic pools.

The Aquatechnica portfolio includes everything needed to deliver a successful swimming pool project; including pool tank, surround, changing room, wet area, circulation, outdoor area tiles, profiles, movement joints, adhesives, epoxy grouts, renders, screeds, and waterproofing

Visit www.acquatechnica.co.uk to see the full range.

Parkside:         0116 276 2532            info@parkside.co.uk

Strata Tiles:     0800 012 1454            info@stratatiles.co.uk

May 2022: UK Mapei specified for carbon neutral leisure centre

A full Mapei system forms part of the new Braywick Leisure Centre: a £33 million state-of-the-art facility designed by Plymouth-based BRL Architects.  The new iconic Centre in Maidenhead houses a 10-lane pool and trainer, a 200 station gymnasium, artisan café, dance studio and 2,000 sq. metre sports hall. 

Within pool areas, changing villages and corridors, products used included Mapei Topcem fast drying hydraulic binder, Planitop Fast 330 quick-setting, fibre-reinforced mortar, Mapelastic Smart highly flexible, cementitious waterproof membrane, Mapetex Sel non-woven, macro-holed polypropylene reinforcing fabric, Keraflex Maxi S1 deformable cementitious adhesive and Keraquick S1 quick-setting, deformable cementitious adhesive. 

Mapei Ultracolor Plus anti-efflorescence, quick-setting and drying polymer-modified grout  was used for all tiled areas, along with Mapesil AC pure mould-resistant acetic silicone sealant for all movement joints.  Other products specified included Mapemortar HB R3 high build, shrinkage compensated repair mortar.

Mapei

May 2022: UK Welsh Slate seeks planning at Penrhyn.

To help meet the on-going demand for its natural slate construction products, Welsh Slate has applied to extend its largest quarry.  The company, part of the Breedon Group, is asking Gwynedd Council for a 2.3-hectare extension to its 318-hectare Penrhyn Quarry site in Bethesda near Bangor products – including slate flooring, and walling – are produced.  This would increase the amount of slate permitted to be quarried by 250,000 tonnes or 3.6 million tonnes overall; and increase the life of Penrhyn Quarry by 12 years, from the end of 2023 to the end of 2035.

Welsh Slate

May 2022: UK CDW’s events enhance the visitor experience

Excitement is building for Clerkenwell Design Week’s long-anticipated return.  Visitors to the event – help from 24th to 26th May – can explore over 400 specially curated events at participating showrooms.   Below are two of Tuesday’s tile-related highlights:

Ceramiche Caesar
As part of a wide range of events focused on sustainability, journalist and author Katie Treggiden will open Ceramiche Caesar’s CDW events with a keynote about the circular economy.
Tuesday 24th May  11:00 – 12:00

RAK Ceramics X ICON
Join ICON magazine at the opening of the RAK Ceramics Design Hub for an insightful panel discussion on the importance of diversity in design.
Tuesday 24th May  11:00 – 12:00

Clerkenwell Design Week

CDW tile events: Thursday 26th May

Learn about Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold Milestone at Mosa: 10:00 to 14:00

Join Mosa & GROHE for CPD workshops and celebrate the Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold milestone with a coffee.  Gain RIBA points 

Coloured Grout Installation at Mapei: 10:00 to 17:00

Come and explore Mapei’s new coloured grout installation that showcases the company’s new and existing grout colour range.

Terrarium Workshop with Leafage at Cosentino: 11:00 to 12:30

Cosentino has collaborated with the ever-growing Leafage to host a sustainable Terrarium workshop.  Limited spaces.

Seminar with Patrick Norguet at RAK Ceramics: 12:00 to 13:00

Join world-renowned designer Patrick Norguet – founder and creative director of Studio Norguet Design – for an insightful discussion on the DNA of his design work and collaborations.

Lake Baikal Solo Expedition with E H Smith: 15:00 to 16:00

British expedition leader, Oli France, will talk about his adventures in the most remote and hostile places, life-affirming trails and trials.

DJ Arveene at Solus: 19:30 to 23:30

Join Solus for an evening of immersive music with Arveene, a DJ and music producer who has toured with Liam Gallagher, The Prodigy, and Daft Punk.

CDW tile events: Wednesday 25th May

New trends and the latest inspirations by Marazzi: 09:30 to 21:00

On display will be Marazzi’s latest collections launched at Cersaie, a range of large format porcelain stoneware through to decorative decors and mosaics.

A Matter of Details by Claudia Zaslla at Ceramiche Caesar: 10:00 to 19:00

The fashion and  design photographer Claudia Zalla offers a new glance over Caesar’s ceramics, aimed at finding those details that determines their beauty.

Cementitious and resin showcase by Mapei: 10:00 to 17:00

Focusing on Mapei’s new range of Ultratop Loft colours and bespoke effects achievable shown in an exhibition of Ultratop Loft, Ultratop, and Resin finishes

Virtual reality experience sessions at VitrA London: 10:00 to 17:00

Join VitrA and the team at Virtual Worlds for drop-in virtual reality experience sessions and explore fully immersive virtual bathroom spaces.

Kintsugi craft workshop at Ceramiche Caesar: 14:30 to 16:30

Kintsugi is the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramic by mending with a mixture of resin and gold-coloured powder.  Discover how to do it!

Create your own up-cycled planter workshop at Parkside Architectural Tiles & Strata Technical Tiles: 15:00 to 16:30

Join a sustainable workshop to create an up-cycled planter using items saved from landfill, then filled with a herb plant to take home.  Limited spaces

Design Insight with Giuseppe Maurizio Scutella at  RAK Ceramics: 15:00 to 16:00

Join Giuseppe Maurizio Scutellà – a well known and respected designer – for a presentation to learn about his work and his design processes.

Tales of the Atlantic at Schlüter-Systems: 16:00 to 17:00

Architect Lauren Hunt shares her extraordinary experience of rowing 3000 miles across the Atlantic with Hamish Kilburn, editor of Hotel Designs.

CDW tile events: Tuesday 24th May

The Creative Cave at Pentagon Tiles: 09:30 to 17:00

The Leather Lane showroom will be hosting local designers and artists. Showcasing works from Conscious Forms, Gabrielle Bill, Ally Hare and more!

New trends and the latest inspirations at Marazzi: 09:30 to 19:00

On display will be the latest collections launched at Cersaie, a range of large format porcelain stoneware through to decorative decors and mosaics.

Florim temporary exhibit: 09:30 to 17:30

A temporary exhibit of Florim’s new nature inspired collections!  Come and tour this stunning showroom to see Florim’s Magnum Oversize slabs.

Ceramics: Neverending Artworks by Iris Ceramica Group: 09:30 to 21:00

In this Live Performance: the street artist @camillafalsini interprets Ceramics: Neverending Artworks the exhibition of the most iconic ceramics artworks

Cradle to Cradle Certified® Gold Milestone at Mosa: 10:00 to 14:00

Join Mosa and GROHE for CPD workshops and celebrate the Cradle to Cradle Certified Gold milestone with a coffee. Gain RIBA points 

New Alchemy Lux surfaces from Ceramiche Caesar: 10:00 to 20:00

Caesar will showcase the cutting edge Lux finish, a new feature that enhances Alchemy collection with a unusual elegance.

New Grout Colours from Mapei: 10:00 to 17:00

The Italian chemicals giant will launch new grout colours: 86 colours with unique performances. 

CPD Breakfast Club at Parkside Architectural Tiles & Strata Technical Tiles: 10:00 to Join these well-known tile distributors at the well-located Sustainability & Design Studio for a live CPD alongside fresh pastries and coffee!

When Art Becomes Architecture at E H Smith: 10:00 to 16:00

Taking up residency in EH Smith’s Design Centre throughout #CDW2022 – Maria Gasparian combines art, architecture and design with a focus on ceramics.

ICON Magazine Interview with RAK Ceramics: 11:00 to 12:00

Join Claudia Baillie where she will be interviewing a VIP panel including Abdallah Massaad (CEO) and Leonardo de Muro from RAK Ceramics

Sustainability Talk with Cosentino VP, Valentín Tijeras García: 12:00 to 14:00

Vice President of Cosentino’s Global Product, Valentín Tijeras García, will be hosting a talk Cosentino’s Sustainability Story.

Domus lunchtime design talk: 13:00 to 14:00

One of a series of design talks focusing on new trends, materials, and projects, offering insight into current and future ideas. Visit domusgroup.com for details

Drawing Workshop at Schlüter-Systems: 16:00 to 17:30

Join architect and illustrator Chris Simmons for a drawing workshop focusing on bathrooms and spaces with tiled flooring. All materials are provided.

RAK Ceramics Design Hub Launch: 16:00 to 18:00

RAK Ceramics will open their brand new Design Hub! Be first to explore your design creativity whilst enjoying complimentary refreshments.

May 2022: UK Caesar blooms at CDW 2022

After a two-year hiatus due to Coronavirus, Clerkenwell Design Week – the UK’s leading independent design festival – is back in 2022.   For eleven years it has been attracting the most important furniture and interior design brands to fill the streets of London with innovation products.

Caesar, who set up a showroom in the European design capital back in 2016 with its Urban Lab concept, is ready to welcome visitors to the event in the name of sustainability.

Sustainability, in fact, will be the leitmotif of many other initiatives, such as Caesar’s Every Day Counts project, the keynote on the circular economy held by Katie Treggiden, A matter of details” by the fashion and design photographer Claudia Zalla  (an exhibition set up exclusively for Caesar), and other interesting events.

Where to find Caesar

May 2022: Sacmi Deep Digital helps Incepa win award

The Fusion collection produced by Incepa won the Best in Show Award at Revestir 2022.  Produced using Mineral Lab technology on a Sacmi Deep Digital plant, this range features extraordinary relief coatings with a 3D effect.

Part of the Mexico-based Lamosa Group since 2021, Incepa invested in Sacmi’s Digital Decoration & Glazing technology last year with the aim of expanding and improving its portfolio in the large-format slab segment.  These products are manufactured at the plant in Campo Largo, Paraná, where the first Continua+ line in the Americas came into operation in 2015.   In 2020 the company integrated the Sacmi DHD solution for wet application of inks and effects, used to decorate Roca Cerâmica branded 1,200 by 2,500 mm slabs.

Incepa recently confirmed the purchase of a second Continua+ line, again equipped with Sacmi Deep Digital technology.

Incepta

May 2022: Silestone selected for Z House by Barratt Developments

Barratt Developments’ Z House – the first zero carbon house by a major UK house builder to surpass the Future Homes Standard – will feature Silestone surfaces in the kitchen.

The Symphony kitchen’s worksurface and splashback will be made from Cosentino’s Silestone in Cincel Grey.  It is part of Cosentino’s Sunlit Days Collection, the first carbon neutral collection in the quartz surfaces and engineered stone market, which also features HybriQ+ technology which uses 99% reused water from the production processes and 100% renewable electric energy. HybriQ+ also includes a minimum of 20% recycled raw materials in its composition, alongside mineral raw materials.

Consentino
Baratt Developments

Photo credit: Barratt Developments Plc
May 2022: Italy Cersaie return in September 2022

Cersaie will be back in the Bologna Exhibition Centre this year from 26th to 30th September.  More than 92% of the available exhibition space has already been booked, despite the uncertain outlook, with the show expected once again to fill 15 halls of the BolognaFiere exhibition centre. This bodes well for an increase in numbers of Italian and international visitors this year.

Cersaie Digital will be online for three weeks from 19th September to 7th October with the aim of consolidating relations between exhibitors and visitors and complementing the activities held at the in-person show.

Cersaie

May 2022: Italy EnergieKer continues to collaborate with LB

After four years using the Easy Color Boost powder dry colouring system for large format tile production, EnergieKer is again adopting LB technology to feed a new large-size tile production line equipped with a dry colouring tower based on ECB 2.0 technology.

The main advantages of the chosen solution are its manufacturing flexibility and design versatility.  The plant should be fully operational by June.

EnergieKer

May 2022: Ceramica Del Conca adopts second Durst Gamma DG system

Following the success of the first product lines created using Durst Gamma DG technology, Ceramica del Conca has purchased a second digital glazing system.  The use of Durst Gamma DG technology in conjunction with Durst Gamma XD digital printers, enables the company to create extremely natural material effects.  It facilitates the digital printing of relief structures in perfect synchronisation with graphics.

The pursuit of three-dimensionality is now vital in the global tile market, judging by the top 10 trends at Coverings 2022.  The Bas Relief Tile Trend is one of the most popular, with products made by Ceramica del Conca using Durst’s unique technology being particularly notable examples.

Del Conca

May 2022: Italy Ragno opens flagship showroom in Milan

On Wednesday 18th May at 12 pm, Ragno will officially open its new flagship showroom at 9 via Marco Polo, Milan, Italy.   The showroom is located in the iconic Porta Nuova district of  Italy’s design capital.  The project was created by Benedetta Tagliabue and Miralles Tagliabue  of EMBT

Ragno

April 2022: USA Coverings confirms successful 2022 edition

Coverings 2022 drew an 18% increase in attendance compared to Coverings 2021. The event, which was held 5th to 8th April at the Las Vegas Convention Center, attracted nearly 18,000 professionals from the tile and stone industry.

Attendees participated in four trends tours, while podcast participation was also a popular show activity, with 10 live podcasts covering a range of timely and relevant topics during the four-day event. 

Coverings’ 24 educational sessions focused upon three tracks: Installation & Fabrication; Materials & Trends, and Workforce & Profits.

The Installation Innovation Stage presented 48 presentations and live demonstrations for learning advanced techniques to install new products.  The Experience Stage – new for 2022 – offered opportunities to learn from industry experts about Coverings’ core focuses of Wellness & Environment; Timeless Luxury, and Outdoor Living Spaces.  

The Trends & Solutions Stage, also new for 2022, covered product trends and solutions in the industry, with 19 presentations offered by Coverings exhibitors and trade professionals.

Plans are already in the works for Coverings 2023, which will take place 18th to 21st April 2023, at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Florida.”

For more information, visit coverings.com.

October 2021: UK Victoria powers ahead on tile growth

The ceramic division of Victoria plc closed the last fiscal year with revenue up 15.8% to £282.4 million, or 42.6% of consolidated group revenue.

The financial year ending 3rd April 2021 was the eighth consecutive year of growth for Victoria PLC, the British flooring group with production and sales activities spanning from ceramic tiles to carpet, LVT, underlay and accessories. The group’s consolidated net revenue reached £662.3 million, up 6.6% on the previous year (+7.4% at constant exchange rates), while EBITDA increased to £127.4 million and EBITDA margin to 19.2%.

The group has enjoyed impressive growth in the ceramic tile sector, where Victoria PLC is now one of the world’s top players with the companies and brands acquired in the last four years: The first acquisition of Italian tile producer Ceramica Serra in 2017 was followed by Keraben, Ibero, and Saloni in Spain, then again in Italy by Ceramiche Ascot and Keradom in 2020, and most recently by Ceramiche Colli and Ceramiche Santa Maria on 21st April this year. This last investment of €35 million was necessary to expand the Italian operations’ production capacity, and to extend its product and brand portfolio.

In the last fiscal year – excluding the acquisitions in April – ceramic tile revenues exceeded those of the group’s core business of soft flooring in Europe.  Keradom, acquired in December 2020, contributed to the business unit’s balance sheet for a period of four months.

The UK & Europe Soft Flooring division, which includes operations in the carpet, underlay, LVT, artificial grass and accessories segments in the UK, Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium, posted only slightly lower revenues at £280.4 million (down 0.6% on the previous year), equivalent to 42.3% of the total. The Australia BU also operates in the soft flooring segment and reported sales of £99.6 million.

The ceramic tile division generated the highest margins in the last financial year, despite the 7.7% decline in EBITDA caused by the pro forma effects of the acquisitions of Ibero, Asco,t and Keradom. EBITDA margin stood at 22.3% compared to the soft flooring division’s 17.5%.

The standout performance was that of Victoria Italia, which passed the €100 million revenue mark.  Although the outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic delayed the full integration of Ascot by some months following the acquisition in March 2020, revenues generated in Italy grew by 146% in 12 months, from £34.6 million to £85.2 million due to the acquisition of major new customers and the penetration of new markets, especially in Eastern Europe and North America.

Following the acquisitions of Colli and Santa Maria, Victoria Italia is now heading for €150 million.  This figure that will increase in 2022 as the group insources tile production that is currently outsourced due to lack of capacity.

Alongside its acquisition-based growth policy in the ceramic tile sector, the flooring multinational has continued to make major investments in organic growth. During these 4 years, the group has invested tens of millions of euros in its tile facilities with the aim of improving productivity, quality, logistics and service.  This is particularly evident in the case of Ascot, where the process of modernising the polishing department has just been completed and which is now running at a steady profit after just one year. Further confirmation is provided by the plan to make €15 million of new investments in Italy in 2021-2022, much of which will be focused on organic growth.

“Victoria is an industrial enterprise operating in the flooring business, not a financial investor, and is interested in the long-term development of the sector,” says the group’s CEO, Philippe Hamers. “We have very specific plans to grow our presence in the ceramics sector and are currently looking at several opportunities, some of them in Italy. We are especially interested in Italy, as well as in Spain, because the quality and style of ceramic products manufactured here are amongst the best in the world.”

Victoria PLC, which is listed on the London Stock Exchange with a capitalisation of €1.5 billion, has around 3,500 employees and more than 20 factories in the UK, Europe, Australia, and the USA.

Source: Ceramic World Review.

October 2021: Italy Gruppo Romani acquires Ceramica Verde 1999

Gruppo Romani has announced the acquisition of a 100% stake in Ceramica Verde 1999 – Campogalliano Ceramiche.  This deal is part of a strategy of expanding the group’s product range by acquiring complementary lines to those offered by its Serenissima, Cir, Cercom, and Cerasarda brands; and its subsidiary ISLA Tiles.

Ceramica Verde 1999, which communicates the value of Italian-made tiles world-wide, has grown steadily during its twenty years in business and expects to post a turnover in excess of €15 million in 2021.

“With this important acquisition we have invested in an internationally recognised company with a strong focus on exports,” commented Giorgio and Paolo Romani, respectively Chairman and CEO of Gruppo Romani Industrie Ceramiche S.p.A. “The sales channels will remain independent and Daniele Verde will stay on as brand CEO for the coming years, assisted by his wife Ellen Bachman as head of new product research and development.”

“The integration of a brand with a manufacturing company equipped with modern, state-of-the-art facilities is certain to bring synergies, mutual benefits and the potential for further growth of the brand, as well as the possibility of acquiring new market shares,” says Daniele Verde.

Ceramica Verde 1999, acquired by Gruppo Romani’s subsidiary RGP srl, will continue to operate independently in the market through a new sales network that will be able to exploit the Group’s synergies.

Gruppo Romani produces around 8 million square metres per annum at its three production facilities in Rubiera, Roteglia and Olbia. In 2020 it posted a turnover of more than €100 million and is expecting to report above 20% growth in the current year.

From: https://www.ceramicworldweb.it/

September 2021: UK Porcelain Superstore see sales more than double to £13.5 million

Manchester-based tile retailer Porcelain Superstore has recorded a seventh consecutive year of growth, after seeing more than a 100% increase in year-on-year turnover.

Sales at the family-run business topped £13.5 million during their financial year, which ran from 1st September 2020 to 31st August 2021.

This is more than double their 2020-year-end of £6.65 million.  The online tile retailer also took on seven full-time hires across service, warehousing, and fulfilment – increasing their total workforce to 25.

The three brothers behind the family-run-business hope to see turnover hit a record £15 million for the 2021 calendar year.

Abbas Youssefi, who founded Porcelain Superstore alongside his siblings Ben and Sam in 2014, credits the success to the firm’s clear ambition to buck existing trends in the tile market, as well as continued investment into their website, marketing, and staff.

He said: “Logistically, it was an extremely challenging year with the impact of Brexit and the ongoing pandemic,” stated Abbas  “However, rather than buckle down over the last 12 months, we’ve expanded our range, our staffing, and completely overhauled our website to make it more aspirational, informative – and most importantly – user friendly.”

The year hasn’t been without its problems. One of the biggest issues faced by Porcelain Superstore has been the shortage of HGV drivers, which has delayed some stock reaching their warehouse, as well as longer turnaround times on customer orders.  However, thanks to their large stockholdings, impact has been kept to a minimum.

“The growth plan has been strong and deliberate, and we have seen the benefits of previous investment in warehousing,” added Abbas.

It is the seventh year of sustained growth for Porcelain Superstore. The results show an increase in year-on-year revenue.  In 2020, they finished the financial year up 80% on 2019’s figure of £3,706,000, which was an increase on 2018’s £2,167,000.

September 2021: Spain Pamesa’s growth continues with Azuliber acquisition

Pamesa’s relentless expansion has continued  in 2021 with another significant acquisition in the Castellón district and revenues approaching €1,100 million.

In June, Fernando Roig set out the Pamesa Group’s 2021 goals that already pointed to exceptional growth, with production capacity up 40%, tile sales of 130 million sq. metres, and consolidated revenues of €900 million compared to €782 million in 2020.

Now, with the announcement of the acquisition of Azuliber at the beginning of September, the chairman of Europe’s largest tile group has further revised up his forecasts: the consolidated revenues of Pamesa Grupo Empresarial are now likely to reach €1.1 billion (up 40% on 2020), including €900 million generated in the ceramic tile segment (up 45% compared to the €616 million achieved in 2020.

The acquisition of the Azuliber group is an extremely significant for Spain’s Castellón ceramic district. Azuliber is more than just a large tile manufacturer.  Its six factories (Cerámicas Myr, Azulejera Alcorense, Click Cerámica, Valentia Ceramics, Oset, and Azulejos Plaza, acquired last spring) have a dozen kilns that produce a total of 3 million sq. metres of tiles a month, or 36 million sq.  metres per annum. 

This additional production capacity will help Pamesa to meet a constantly growing demand that still exceeds the group’s capacity, despite its ongoing investments aimed at expanding output.

Azuliber is also an important player in the raw materials segment.  It owns several red and white clay quarries in Spain, an has expertise in the production and supply of spray-dried clay through two companies, Azuliber (pictured) and Amizalsa.  Together, they operate a total of 10 spray-drying plants.

The Azuliber Group is expected to post consolidated revenues of around €160 million 2021.

The acquisition, for an undisclosed sum, comes on top of the €70 million investment plan that Fernando Roig had already announced for 2021, which includes the installation of new kilns, office refurbishment at the headquarters, construction of a logistics centre and clay warehouse, and modernisation of Pulidos Pamesa with the installation of new finishing equipment.

September 2021: UK Bostik opens new state-of-the-art training facility at its Stafford headquarters

Bostik has opened the Bostik Academy, a new state-of-the-art training facility, at the company’s UK headquarters in Stafford.

The facility features a modern lecture theatre for theoretical training, which can then be put into practice in a separate room that includes custom-built features such as flooring bays, plus the technology and equipment for various practical demonstrations.

The Bostik Academy offers a mix of blended learning, interactive seminars and the ability to host live streaming webinars, ensuring there is provision for a wide range of training.  A separate online platform enables attendees to consolidate their learning after the training sessions.  This means that as well as on-the-day training, trainees will benefit from an ongoing experience with user-friendly resources.

The company’s technical team already has experience of delivering training both on and off Bostik’s premises, but the new facility will improve the opportunities for trainees to benefit from the team’s expertise.

“We know that the ideal training varies for different teams depending on their needs, which is why we’ve designed the Bostik Academy to be able to provide a mixture of different types of training.  We want people to strengthen their skills and leave us with improved confidence in their abilities. The right training is, therefore, a valuable investment for contractors and distributors, and will give them an important advantage in an increasingly competitive market,” says Darren Robinson, National Technical Manager at Bostik.

September 2021: Spain Bestile’s growth continues with Unicer acquisition

Unicer has become the latest acquisition for fast-growing Spanish tile manufacturer Bestile.  This follows the additional acquisition, in Spring 2021, of one of the most prominent brands in the Spanish tile sector, Azulindus y Martí.

Universal Cerámica (Unicer), was founded in 1973.  In recent years, it has experienced trading difficulties.  This meant that Unicer’s turnover, which in 2019 was €5 million, fell last year to just €3.2 million.  Significantly, over the last two financial years it had accumulated €3 million in losses, which made it impossible for the company to maintain its independence.  In addition, various debts, amounting to €6 million, were another issue.

Unicer’s tile factory in l’Alcora, recognized for its Small Size brand, has become the sevent manufacturing plant in Bestile’s production portfolio.

The firm led by Celso López continues to grow and its latest financial accounts, for 2019, show a turnover of almost €62 million: €12 million more than 2018. One of the cornerstones of this growth has been the close collaboration with Pamesa. 

Going forward, Bestile will be in charge of managing the assets of the Azuliber group, recently acquired by Pamesa.

September 2021: Germany Ardex acquires a majority stake in Wedi

Ardex, the Witten-based construction chemicals specialist, has acquired a majority shareholding in wedi GmbH, a leading manufacturer of system solutions for high-quality wet room solutions based in Emsdetten, Germany.  This is the largest acquisition in the Ardex’s history.

The management of both family-run companies have made it clear that wedi will continue to operate independently.  In addition, Stephan Wedi and Fabian Rechlin will remain in place as Managing Directors of wedi.  Stephan Wedi will also continue in his shareholder role.

“The Ardex Group is taking a major step forward with the acquisition of the market leader for watertight shower and construction systems,” says Mark Eslamlooy, Ardex Group’s CEO.  “There could be no better way to enhance our systems competence – Ardex and wedi are two strong brands which complement one another in an ideal manner.  As family-run companies, we also share a common understanding of the importance of customer proximity, innovation and quality.  All in all it is the perfect basis for a successful co-operation.”

“Ardex is a perfect growth accelerator for us – one only has to think of the many global markets and the joint innovation potential.  It was of tremendous importance to us that we find a partner with whom we can safeguard our independence and contribute our strengths to ensure joint growth.  To this, we will also implement the already planned capacity expansions together with Ardex.  The matter is one very close to my heart, and from the very outset my gut feeling about Ardex was extremely positive,” says Stephan Wedi.

“wedi and Ardex complement one another excellently, not just in Germany, but also in other core markets such as the USA, Australia and New Zealand, France, England, Austria, Switzerland, or Benelux. The innovative strength of the Ardex Group is enormous, and as a result, we expect to make considerable advances,” adds Fabian Rechlin.

August 2021: Spain Call for entries: Tile of Spain Awards 2021

Architects, designers and final-year students are invited to submit projects for this annual global competition, celebrating the innovative use of Spanish ceramics.

Now in its 20th year, the Tile of Spain awards are organised by the Spanish Ceramics Tile Manufacturers’ Association (ASCER) with the aim of encouraging, promoting and rewarding the use of Spanish-made ceramics in international projects. Cash prizes totalling 35,000 euros will be divided between three categories, which will highlight creativity in architecture, interior design and a final degree project by an architecture student.

This year the winners of the two main prizes – architecture and interior design – will each receive 15,000 euros, while the winner of the final degree project will receive 5,000 euros. The awards are sponsored by ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones and Endesa.

Architect Carlos Ferrater of Office of Architecture in Barcelona (OAB) is to chair the panels of judges, which will comprise some of the world’s most respected architectural and design professionals. Every year they review high-calibre entries from all over the world.

In last year’s awards, the prize for the architecture category was scooped by Mesura Architects Studio for ‘Casa Ter’. First prize in the interior design category went to ‘Atlantis Gastrobar’ by Arantxa Manrique Arquitectes. The Final Degree project was won by Andrea Puebla Yubero from CEU San Pablo University in Madrid. The proposal was for a centre for unaccompanied under-age immigrants.

Entry to the awards is free and submissions are being accepted from now until 28 October 2021. Projects must have been completed between January 2020 and October 2021.

For more information on the Tile of Spain Awards 2021 and to register your project, visit tileofspainawards.com.

Winner of the architecture category: Casa Ter in La Bisbal by Mesura Architects’ Studio. Photo Credit: Mesura and Salva López
July 2021: USA US designers are offered a free trip to Cersaie

Ceramics of Italy is seeking applications for its inaugural Destination: CERSAIE | Bologna program.  In this new initiative – organised by Confindustria Ceramica and EdiCer – North American architects and designers are invited to apply for a free five-day, CEU-accredited, trip to Italy’s culinary capital, Bologna, for CERSAIE. 

The world’s premier exhibition of ceramic tiles and bathroom furnishings will take place from 27th September to 1st  October 2021 at the Bologna Exhibition Centre.

Selected trade professionals will be invited to join a VIP delegation of journalists, architects, and designers from North America.  The group will enjoy a guided tour of the show to see the newest products, trends, and innovations in Italian tile and gain opportunities to connect with manufacturer representatives.

The selected applicants will also be treated to local cultural experiences in and around Bologna, including a special trip outside of the city to visit an Italian tile factory and an historic balsamic vinegar producer.  Ceramics of Italy will cover expenses for a four-night hotel stay (26th to 30th September) and main cabin flight.  The program is open to all North American specifiers working in architecture and design studios.  Applicants must fill out a questionnaire regarding their firm, projects, and why they wish to attend CERSAIE at https://bit.ly/CERSAIE-Bologna. The deadline to apply is the 6th August.

July 2021: Spain Keros Cerámica, Ferro Spain, Coloronda, Realonda, and Aitister all win Alfa de Oro 2021 awards

Keros Cerámica, Ferro Spain, Coloronda, Realonda, and Aitister have all received an Alfa de Oro award in the 45th running of this highly prestigious award scheme by the Spanish Society of Ceramics and Glass.  The Alfa de Oro awards single out the most innovative ceramic products launched in the preceeding year.

Ferro and Keros won for their Hidracer project.  The two companies have jointly developed hydraulic pavements using ceramic technology that offer improved technical properties. Working in collaboration of ITC and Tierra Atomizada, Ferro and Keros created a new type of ceramic tile that looks like a traditional hydraulic pavement, but offers improved technical properties.  

Ferro developed the materials for surface that can achieve a 2 to 4mm thick layer twhen fired, whereas most glazes are just 300 microns thick.  The surface also facilitates greater penetration of digital coloured inks.

In turn, Keros produced a ceramic substrate with technical and aesthetic properties similar to those of hydraulic paving: unusually thick, grey, and with a very coarse granular composition.  It uses reclaimmed ground ceramic pots as a raw material.

Manufacturing costs are much lower than for conventional cementitious hydraulic pavements, which tend to be made in countries with cheap labour due to its high manual component.

Coloronda received its award for a magnetic glaze – Gravitec – that has the potential to revolutionise wall mounting. Using this organic-inorganic hybrid coating gives ceramic tiles ferromagnetic properties. The glaze is sprayed on the back of the tile in a traditional way, and then fired.  The resuylting tile will stick to magnetic surfaces, making it versatile and ease of use.  There is also need for destructive operations, or skilled labour, to remove and replace tiles.

Realonda won its award for the manufacture of ceramic tiles with a self-regulating moisture capacity.  Using absorption and expiration, this is a passive technology that improves indoor comfort, reduces ventilation needs, and avoids the need for electrical appliances.

AiTister won its award for an innovative technology that can generate ceramic designs using Artificial Intelligence.  This software-based AI tool can deliver an unlimited source of graphic information and designs, using a deep learning algorithm. Exclusive images are generated automatically and, once used, they will never be repeated.  The system can generate as many designs as the user wants, in different sizes and colours.

July 2021: USA TCNA members donate tiled doghouses to pet charity

Member companies of the Tile Council of North America donated unique, hand-crafted, tiled doghouses to the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando at Coverings 2021 in Orlando, Florida.

Participating companies included: American Wonder Porcelain, Anthology, Casa Ceramica, Crossville, and Del Conca USA.  The forms used to make these doghouses were custom manufactured by Wedi.

“We are grateful to our members for creating these gorgeous works of art, which demonstrate another creative way tile can be used to beautify a space,” said TCNA Marketing Director, Kathy Meyer. “The doghouses provide us an opportunity to help support the Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando and their numerous programs that benefit pets in the Orlando area.”

“Pet Alliance of Greater Orlando is appreciative to again be chosen by TCNA as their charity partner for this project,” remarked Pet Alliance Director of Operations, Angela Miedema.  “Support from TCNA and its members in this truly creative undertaking will allow us to continue to provide for the needs of the thousands of shelter pets that come to us each year. We are very thankful for their commitment to helping homeless pets!”

During Coverings 2021, the doghouses were displayed in TCNA’s booth (#3233), where a donation ceremony was held on Thursday, 8th July.

American Wonder Porcelain
The theme of the American Wonder Porcelain doghouse is Canine in Chief.  Tiled in Polar Style Porcelain, the house features White PS01 24 by 24in polished field tile on the body and Wonder’s 2 by 4in brick joint mosaic from the same series on the roof.

Anthology
A luxury home for four-legged friends, Anthology’s 2021 doghouse featured pawprints, roof, and front façade made from recycled glass, inkjet-printed to resemble Carrara marble.  These blend beautifully with the luxurious, glossy white outer walls. The back of the doghouse is accented with Anthology’s classic royal gem mosaics, which give this puppy palace an unforgettable elegance.

Casa Ceramica
Casa Ceramica’s doghouse was designed and installed by their team of in-house designers, using hand-painted tiles from their classic Mediterranean Collection.  4 by 4in classic Moorish-design tiles decorate the sides of the doghouse, while the roof features handmade subway tiles to create a more transitional feel.  The front fascia is decorated with handmade 2 by 2in Mediterranean tile inserts, along with a custom fleur-de-lys relief. Casa Ceramica’s classic handmade dog bones add a final playful touch.

Crossville
Crossville’s doghouse showcases their colorful Cursive mosaic wall tile collection in Oxblood, Soft Teal, Iris, and Goldenrod.  The custom pattern was made with Crossville’s exclusive Cursive Pattern Visualizer, a digital design tool that makes it easy to create fun looks.

Del Conca USA
Del Conca USA’s doghouse features tile from its Nature marble collection.  The body of the house is constructed with Calacatta Gold, a marble with a beautiful, creamy white background and golden veins of various sizes.  The roof is finished with Dolomite marble, a surface that represents the Italian “Zebrino marble,” rich in movement with refined linear veins.

July 2021: UK Victoria PLC acquires omni-channel CALI

CALI, the California-based omni-channel flooring supplier, has been bought by Victoria PLC, a fast-growing force in flooring innovation, manufacturing, and distribution.  CALI will continue as an autonomous operation while benefitting from new product offerings and support.

Established in 1895, and based in Kidderminster, Victoria now has around $1 billion in annual sales, and employs 3,800 people across 25 sites in the UK, Europe, and Australia. 

CALI is a noted designer and manufacturer of highly successful lines of waterproof luxury vinyl plank flooring. The deal will lead to the expansion of CALI’s product offerings with access to European and Australian substrates, fabrications, partnerships with sister companies, and potentially new markets.

In integrating CALI into their operations, Victoria will expand its U.S. distribution, where it currently sells $33 million of flooring annually.  It also allows the UK firm to tap into CALI’s successful direct-sales channel, while broadening existing B2B and commercial partnerships.

For Victoria, the CALI acquisition follows that of Ceramica Saloni, the Spanish manufacturer of mid- to high-end ceramic and porcelain tiles: an operation valued at Euro 96.7 million, in August 2018.  This deal was the third ceramic-business acquisition in under a year following the purchase of Ceramica Serra in Italy (Euro 56.5 million), and Keraben in Spain (Euro 274 million); both concluded in November 2017.

Victoria followed up the Saloni deal by buying Ibero, the Spanish tile manufacturer, in August 2019.   In 2018, Ibero generated revenues of Euro 30.9 million.

Ibero’s high quality porcelain tiles are sold throughout Europe, North America, and the Middle East.  The acquisition of Ibero created obvious operational synergies with Victoria’s existing businesses in Spain.  Ceramica Saloni was fully integrated into the Keraben operation one year after its acquisition.

In the tax year to 31st March 2019, Victoria PLC posted consolidated revenues of £574.4 million (up 35.2%) and 44% growth in operating profit to £70.3 million. The ceramic business is becoming increasingly important for the group, accounting for 34% of its total revenue (£193.9 million) and 67% of operating profit (£48.2 million).  In the year to 31st March 2019, Victoria PLC produced 27.7 million sq.metres of ceramic tiles.

July 2021: Spain Grupo Pamesa’s 2020 revenues soar to around Euro 782 million

Pamesa’s growth has continued, with the group’s owner, Fernando Roig, confirming 11% growth in turnover compared to 2019, a 20% increase in ceramic sector revenues, Euro 91 million in investment, and 527 new jobs.  Pamesa Group is now Europe’s largest tile manufacturer, and the seventh largest in the world.  The group’s tile brands now include Pamesa, Tau, Geotiles, Navarti, Prismacer, Ecoceramic, Cottocer, and Compacglass.

Despite reduced activity in April and May 2020 due to the pandemic, Grupo Empresarial Pamesa (which also produces raw materials, chemicals and operates in the energy sector) posted revenues of Euro 782 million in 2020.  Pre-tax profits rose sharply, up 56% to Euro 66 million.

 “During the first five months of 2021, all the group’s brands have continued to perform very strongly compared to 2020, with a 63% increase in tile sales,” noted Roig.  “Considering that April 2020 was a month of total lockdown, this growth rate will not be sustainable over the entire year, but we expect it to remain very high.  In 2021 we are anticipating a consolidated turnover of Euro 900 million and tile sales in excess of 130 million sq. metres.”

The group invested an impressive Euro 91 million in 2020.  This included purchasing land in Vila-real and Onda for future expansion, the installation of new production lines, the renovation of Geotiles’ offices and showrooms, and the complete refurbishment of the Cottocer factory, with the installation of new machinery.  Two new kilns were also installed in the Compacglass facility in Onda.

Further investments totalling around Euro 70 million are still planned for this year.  These include the refurbishment of the Pamesa Cerámica’s HQ, a new 140,000 sq. metre logistics centre, and a new 52,00 sq. metre raw materials warehouse near the Tau factory.

July 2021: UK Johnson Tiles marks 120 year anniversary

Established in 1901, Johnson Tiles is the UK’s only large-scale designer, manufacturer and importer of ceramic and porcelain floor and wall tiles.

To mark this milestone year, the 120 year old brand has unveiled an updated logo featuring the national flag to honour the company’s rich heritage in British design, manufacturing and innovation.

2021 will also see the company launch two digital initiatives including its own podcast series to champion British design and resilience, along with inspirational new product ranges from its Stoke-on-Trent headquarters.

“The true value of heritage isn’t the past.  It’s the learnings that help leverage future opportunities,” says Managing Director, Stephen Dixon.  “We’re a product of strong and resourceful communities.  Both in The Potteries’ heartland that we’re proud to call home, and the British design industry that we proudly serve.  So, rather than looking back, we wanted to take this opportunity to revel in where we’re heading, because of the extraordinary resourcefulness of all our people: colleagues, customers, and suppliers alike.”

“It’s especially fitting given that, never in living memory, have we been called upon to consider ‘resource’ more deeply.  The initiatives that we have underway will allow us to celebrate this milestone by honouring and learning from those who have demonstrated true resourcefulness time and again.”

Since 1901, the company has used acquisitions and investments to grow, eventually establishing its own design resource studio, Material Lab, in 2006.  Johnson Tiles also pioneered the use of inkjet technology in 2008 to produce the first photo-realistic patterns on tiles.

Johnson Tiles

July 2021: Spain Grupo Halcón acquires Cicogres and boosts capacity to 50 million sq. metres

In early July Grupo Halcón announced the acquisition of all the assets, including five modern production lines with large format capability, plus the brand and product catalogue, of Castellon-based Cicogres.

With an impressive track record of innovation over more than 30 years, Cicogres’s entire workforce will transfer to Grupo Halcón, in a transaction that will increase Grupo Halcón’s production capacity by 10 million sq. metres per annum, to around 50 million sq. metres across 21 production lines.  This should generate consolidated sales exceeding €250 million across three established brands.  Grupo Halcón also aims to reinvigorate the Cicogres brand by launching a new catalogue of on-trend designs, while continuing to supply historical formats.

Regarding organic growth plans initiated in 2020, including investment of €45 million by 2021, Grupo Halcón has completed one of the two planned capacity expansions and two new showrooms at the group’s facility in Alcora, as well as the new logistical centre in Onda.  The first new production line, which went onb line in Spring of this year, added 4 million sq. metres of capacity, and expanded Grupo Halcón’s capabilities in large and polished tile formats.  The second new production line, expected to come online in this Autumn, will add another 4 million sq. metres of capacity.

“We are very excited about the addition of valuable, plug-and-play assets from Cicogres,” stated Francois Brendel, CEO of Grupo Halcón.  “The transaction is a reflection of the group’s vision to supplement organic growth investment with accretive acquisitions.  We are proud to welcome Cicogres’s team, recognized for professional service and quality manufacturing,” explained Brendel.  “With support from Falcon Private Holdings, the group’s majority shareholder since 2018, Grupo Halcón will continue to seek additional avenues for growth across geographies and channels.”

June 2021: USA Coverings announces programme highlights as the Orlando event gears up for July opening

Coverings, the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, ran a packed programme of during the tile and stone showcase, which was held from 7th to 9th July in Orlando, Florida, USA.

Features returning to Coverings for 2021 included international pavilions, tile and stone exhibits from around the globe, live installation demonstrations, Coverings Installation and Design Awards, Rock Stars, and complimentary educational opportunities.

Complimentary educational opportunities included Continuing Education Units; and feature sessions, demonstrations, round tables, live interviews with industry thought-leaders, and industry forums.

The always-popular Coverings 2021 Installation Demonstration Stage returned to offer attendees the opportunity to observe live, interactive showcases of cutting-edge tile installation techniques.

New to Coverings 2021 were the Coverings Lounge, Society of American Mosaic Artists exhibits, co-location with the National Wood Flooring Association, and extended show hours.

Stunning mosaic tile projects were unveiled by Luna Mosaic Arts and the National Tile Contractors Association in the Coverings Lounge. Visitors saw Luna Mosaic Arts creating a 10 by 10ft to 10 by 20ft tile mosaic onsite during the show, with additional mosaic projects on display. The NTCA presented a live broadcast demonstration of designing, building and installing a mosaic tile project, highlighting the historical importance of tile installation as an artisan craft.

“We are thrilled to share the steps and advanced methods used by our NTCA artisan team to design a custom mosaic creation, specifically for Coverings 2021,” said Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the NTCA. Coverings partnered with the Society of American Mosaic Artists to showcase another dimension of ceramic tile and inspire attendees during the July event. 

Coverings

June 2021: Australia DIY giant Bunnings buys Beaumont Tiles

Australian home improvement group Wesfarmers, owner of the Bunnings DIY brand, has entered into an agreement to acquire Australian hard surfaces retailer, Beaumont Tiles.  This will make the combined operation the largest tile retailer in Australia.

Bunnings’ Managing Director, Mike Schneider, said: “Beaumont Tiles is a well-run business with a proud family history that will remain separate and distinct to Bunnings, as is the case with Adelaide Tools which was acquired by Bunnings in April 2020.  The acquisition represents an opportunity to build on the success of the Beaumont Tiles business and invest in its future growth.  Beaumont Tiles services both trade and consumer customers and has a specialised product and service capability that is not able to be offered through the Bunnings Warehouse format.”

Beaumont Tiles’ Executive Chairman, Bob Beaumont, is pleased to have found an Australian company that will would look after staff, franchisees, the culture, and its future.

“After 53 years dedicated to a business that my dad started in South Australia, it’s time to retire. I knew that it would never be an easy thing to do, and it’s been a tough decision, but the board and I recognised the need for us to make way for a younger team,” said Beaumont.  “What made the decision easier was knowing the brand and business we worked so hard to build from scratch would be placed in the best possible position for on-going success and growth, and I’m really thrilled at the outcome for Beaumonts.”

June 2021: France Brac and Mattonelle Margherita win at the first IDEAT Design Awards

The two collections (Brac and Mattonelle Margherita) both designed by Nathalia Du Pasquier have been have been awarded in the Best Tiles category at the very first edition of IDEAT Design Awards. Demonstrating the versatility of Pasquier’s design talent are the creative 3D elements of Brac and the highly decorative and playful patterns of Mattonelle Margherita, both of which celebrate diversity and the joys of energetic design.

IDEAT Design Awards

To read our articles on each collection, click the links below:
Brac
Mattonelle Margherita

May 2021: UK Parkside opens two more London Design Studios

Parkside has opened two new Design Studios in Balham and Notting Hill as it continues to develop its position in the commercial tile market.  These two new sites

join the tile specification company’s three existing Design Studios in Chelsea, Clerkenwell, and the Cotswolds; as well as a hub at its Leicester HQ.

Design Studios showcase samples from many collections, and can be used by local architecture and design professionals to explore Parkside’s portfolio of over 1,500 tile designs.

The company’s Clerkenwell Design Studio regularly hosts events and workshops for the local professional community and has been involved in photography exhibitions and taken an active role in events such as Clerkenwell Design Week.

Mark Williams, Sales Design Director, says: “As a tactile surface finish, tiles are best decided upon through seeing samples.  Of course, our website has a five-minute sample selector which is utilised by architects and designers on a regular basis, but sometimes there is a need to explore and discuss options for projects in more depth. Our Design Studios provide this opportunity and act as a place where our consultants can help to build a tile specification, or simply where people can come together to explore our impressive collection.”

“We’re hugely excited about these two new locations as they make it easier for local architects, specifiers and interior designers to experience how Parkside can help lift tile specifications out the ordinary. As restrictions allow, we look forward to welcoming the local professional communities in to celebrate with us, and also to share ideas and knowledge on how to bring the durability and ease of tiles to workplaces, housing developments, retail, hotels, bars and restaurants and many more locations.”

Parkside

April 2021: Italy Obituary: Sergio Sassi, CEO, Emilceramica

Sergio Sassi, CEO of Emilceramica, one of the leading companies in the world-wide ceramic tile sector, has died at the age of 63 from an incurable illness.  A graduate in Economics and Commerce from the University of Modena, Sassi led the Fiorano Modenese-based company following its acquisition by the Marazzi Group in 2017 and incorporation into the Mohawk Industries Group.

Sassi also served as Chairman of Assopiastrelle (now Confindustria Ceramica) from 2001 to 2005.  He help important roles on the Chairman’s Committee of Confindustria Emilia, and both the Energy and Internationalisation, and the Technical Committees of Confindustria.  In addition, Sassi was Vice Chairman of Sassuolo Calcio football club, and a founding member of the Faber foundation committed to promoting business culture in the Emilia-Romagna region.

April 2021: Brazil Biancogres invests in System technology

Biancogres, one of Brazil’s leading ceramic tile manufacturers, has made a major investment by installing a new Superfast 25000 mouldless press from System Ceramics.  This will deliver a high level of flexibility in the production of traditional sizes with variable thicknesses.  It also guarantees 100% recycling of unfired material and thus produces minimal waste.

With an annual production of 36 million sq. metres, Biancogres is now capable of producing modular sizes up to 1,200 by 3,600mm in thicknesses from 3 to 30mm. It can also work with a wide range of raw materials in terms of moisture content, and particle size.

Biancogres

April 2021: Italy Strong finacial figures from Siti B&T

Siti B&T Group posted a smaller than expected fall in sales revenue and margins in 2020.   Accoirinding to CEO, Fabio Tarozzi, this was because group companies – Siti B&T, Ancora, Projecta Engineering, Digital Design, and Diatex –  showed relilience “which enabled them to overcome the acute phase of the crisis while continuing to offer the market the same service and attention as ever, even during the most difficult moments of the pandemic.”

A recovery in orders in the second half of the year partially offset the effects of the shutdown in previous months, resulting in an 18.8% fall in revenue to Euro 142.3 million (Euro 175 million in 2019.  The Group’s network of service subsidiaries allowed it to increase its Customer Service revenue to Euro 65.8 million, up +8.7%.

EBITDA dropped from Euro 18.7 million to Euro 11 million.  However, the Group saw an improvement in net financial debt, which fell to Euro 54.8 million, from Euro 59.1 million in 2019.  The Group continued its R&D programmes, making a total investment of over Euro 5 million or 3.5% of turnover.

Siti B&T

April 2021: Australia Bunnings enters agreement to acquire Beaumont Tiles

Bunnings has entered into an agreement to acquire Australian hard surfaces retailer, Beaumont Tiles.  Bunnings’ Managing Director, Mike Schneider, said Beaumont Tiles is “a well-run business with a proud family history that will remain separate and distinct to Bunnings.”

“The acquisition represents an opportunity to build on the success of the Beaumont Tiles business and invest in its future growth.  Beaumont Tiles services both trade and consumer customers and has a specialised product and service capability that is not able to be offered through the Bunnings Warehouse format,” continued Schneider.  “Beaumont Tiles has a strong management team in place and operates in a large, competitive category that has the opportunity for strong growth.  We’re looking forward to welcoming the Beaumont Tiles team into the Bunnings family.”

Beaumont Tiles’ Executive Chairman, Bob Beaumont, said that he and the board were pleased to have found an Australian company with shared values and a similar culture that could take over Beaumont Tiles in a way which would look after staff, franchisees, the culture and its future.

“After 53 years dedicated to a business that my dad started in South Australia, it’s time to retire.  I knew that it would never be an easy thing to do, and it’s been a tough decision, but the board and I recognised the need for us to make way for a younger team,” explained Beaumont.

“What made the decision easier, was knowing the brand and business we worked so hard to build from scratch would be placed in the best possible position for on-going success and growth and I’m really thrilled at the outcome for Beaumonts.  Our family signed a contract to sell the business to Bunnings, as they understand our brand and culture, and will look after our extended Beaumont family including our franchisees and our teams.”

Bunnings
Beaumont Tiles

April 2021: UK VitrA launches flagship showroom in Clerkenwell

Global tile and bathroom brand VitrA has opened VitrA London: a 5,600sq ft flagship space in London’s Clerkenwell design distriuct.  Designed by the award-winning architectural practice TP Bennett, VitrA London occupies two floors of the emblematic Turnmill Building. The showroom will serve both the local and international architecture and design community, whilst providing a thriving platform, both creatively and commercially, for the dynamic bathroom industry.

At the heart of the showroom is the VitrA talks area, where VitrA will host exhibitions, social events and stimulating talks once guidelines allow, further demonstrating the brand’s ethos of facilitating an open dialogue between the brand and its key audiences. In 2021, VitrA will host a number of digital and live events that encourage engagement within the space whilst social distancing restrictions are in place.

VitrA London’s ground floor also features the brand’s designer bathroom ranges including those created in collaboration with world-renowned designers such as Ross Lovegrove, Terri Pecora, and most recently, Claudio Bellini and Arik Levy.

On the lower ground floor, VitrA London offers a dedicated specification space that demonstrates the various typographies of WCs and basins, as well as showcasing other important elements of bathroom design, including flush plates and accessories. There is also an immersive 4D theatre where visitors can use a virtual reality headset to visualise and walk around their bathroom as they design it.

Levent Giray, Managing Director of VitrA UK, comments: “The launch of our flagship VitrA London showroom marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for our business, enabling us to engage more effectively with our national and international client base. VitrA London will allow us to further connect with the architecture and design community through a constructive, regular dialogue to devise new methodologies, concepts and solutions in a stimulating and dynamic environment.”

VitrA

March 2021: Spain Italcer’s growth continues with Equipe Cerámicas acquisition

With its seventh acquisition in just over three years, Italcer – the Italian group led by Graziano Verdi – has created a Euro 220 million European tile group with an expected EBITDA of over 22%.

Italcer’s latest acquisition is Equipe Cerámicas; a Castellon-based specialist in small format floor and wall tiles.  Equipe Cerámicas was founded in 1999 and, since 2018 has enjoyed the backing of the Miura Fund, which has supported it in its growth and development plan and helped it double its sales and production capacity.

“Thanks to the acquisition of Equipe, we are strengthening our best practices and combining Equipe’s production flexibility with Italcer’s quality,” said Verdi.  “Today Italcer is a major global player in the ceramic industry in terms of innovation, development, sustainability and its unique management team.  This operation enables us to move forward with our growth plans that began in 2017, demonstrating that a strategy of expansion through acquisitions is a unique opportunity in such a fragmented industry.  As a result, our group has progressed from a turnover of Euro 60 million and EBITDA of Euro 12 million in 2017 to an expected turnover of more than Euro 220 million and EBITDA of Euro 50 million in 2021.”

As in the case of the previous acquisitions, Equipe Cerámicas will continue its activities and maintain its workforce under the leadership of the current CEO, Rogelio Vila.

Equipe
Italcer

March 2021: France ABK Group acquires French Desvres brand

Desvres – the historic French tiling brand – has become part of the Finale Emilia-based ABK Group that, in recent months, has also acquired Gardenia Orchidea, and a 49% stake in the Spanish company Arbe Stolanic

ABK will invest in remodelling Desvres’s Boussois factory.  The French company, founded in 1863, posted revenues of over €40 million in 2020.  Following this investment, the factory will begin producing larger sizes such as 800 by  800mm, 600 by 1,200mm, and 200 by 1,200mm.  Output is set to increase from the current five million sq. metres per annum to around 7 million sq. metres by the end of 2022.

“One of our medium-term objectives is to completely relaunch the Desvres brand and expand our export markets,” explains Alessandro Fabbri, Managing Director, Sales & Marketing.  “Our Group has always chosen to invest in long-established, internationally renowned brands with the aim of restructuring them and returning them to a market leading position thanks to the driving force and innovation of our corporate vision.”

Desvres’s strategic location in northern France will also allow the group to establish a production and distribution hub specialising in 20mm and 30mm thick outdoor pavings.

“Our closer proximity to the biggest markets for this type of product, namely France, Belgium, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands, will bring us major advantages in terms of logistics and transport costs,” notes Fabbri.


ABK
Desvres

March 2021: Italy New General Manager for Sacmi Group

Mauro Fenzi is the new General Manager at the Sacmi Group, replacing Giulio Mengoli.  With a degree in Engineering from Milan Polytechnic, Fenzi has gained extensive experience working in the field of industrial automation systems and digital technologies in Italy, the USA, and France.

From 2014 to 2019 he served as CEO of COMAU, a leading company in the field of industrial automation and, from January 2020 as Managing Director of automotive components supplier SOGEFI.

Sacmi

March 2021: USA Mohawk reports best ever final quarter sales

Following sharp growth in Q4, up 9% year-on-year, Mohawk Industries ended 2020 with net sales of $9.6 billion, just 4.2% down on 2019.  Net earnings were $631 million.

“Our fourth quarter results exceeded our expectations as we posted our highest ever quarterly sales,” said Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO.  “We ran our plants around the world at high levels during the period.  All of our markets saw strengthening residential purchases, with laminate, LVT and sheet vinyl outperforming other flooring categories.  Commercial activity remains weak.  Our results improved with higher volumes, restructuring initiatives and leverage on costs, while being adversely affected by lower runs and inventory, higher absenteeism and labour shortages in some operations.”

All of the group’s business units reported strong performances in the last quarter of the year. The Global Ceramic Segment’s sales increased by 7% to $919.6 million, while operating income increased by over 50% to $79.6 million due to improved productivity, partially offset by unfavourable price and mix.  In 2020, the Global Ceramic Segment posted overall net sales of $3.43 billion, down 5.5% on 2019.  This represents 35.9% of total group sales.

Mohawk

March 2021: Spain Altadia Group: a global giant in glazes and finishes

The merger of Esmalglass-Itaca-Fritta (EIF) and Ferro’s Tile Coatings Business (Ferro TCB), has led to the formation of The Altadia Group: one of the world’s leading ceramic frit, glaze, colour, and ink manufacturing groups.  It now has 32 production facilities in 19 countries, 19 distribution centres, approximately 3,600 employees, and combined revenues of around Euro 800.

Altadia owns 11 brands: Esmalglass, Itaca, Fritta, Ferro TCB, Quimicer, Endeka Ceramics, Vetriceramici, SPC Color, Gardenia Química, Zircosil, and Oximet.

Former EIF co-CEOs Vicente Bagán and Antonio Blasco will lead Altadia’s new management team as CEOs, while former Ferro TCB Global Vice President, Julio García, will serve as Chairman. “The value created by this merger lies in the complementarity of a broad set of products, services, brands, and employees, thus making us a more complete solution for our customers,” states Blasco

Altadia Group

March 2021: USA USA bodies certify Advance’s properties

Advance, the Italcer Group’s new range of anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-pollution porcelain surfaces, has passed a series of tests conducted at the laboratories of the Tile Council of North America (TCNA).  These confirm the material’s ability to eliminate 90% of Coronaviruses after just 15 minutes of exposure to light (100% after 6 hours), and to combat 95% to 100% of various types of bacteria after 8 hours of exposure. The patent for the process was filed in late 2019.

Advance also performs a photocatalytic anti-pollution action, as previously certified by the University of Turin.  Within 3 hours, it achieves a 20% reduction in NOx, the main pollutants deriving from automotive and industrial combustion gases.

Advance will be applied to a number of collections marketed  under  the Italcer  Group’s Ceramica Rondine, La Fabbrica Ceramiche, AVA, and Elios Ceramica brands.

Italcer

March 2021: Spain Further investment at Grupo Halcón

Grupo Halcón, the Castellon-based ceramic tile manufacturer, has announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art line during 2021 at the Group’s Alcora factory for the production of large formats and polished finishes.  This will be the second new production line that the Group will have launched in 2021, together adding in aggregate 8,000,000 sq. metres of additional production capacity, and increasing the Group’s operational footprint to 16 production lines.

This additional investment will complement the various projects the Group launched during 2020 to strengthen its value proposition in the marketplace that, additionally to the new production lines, also included a new logistics center in Onda, near Castellón. 

Grupo Halcón also opened two new showrooms in 2020; one for the Emotion brand, and one for the Halcón brand.  They are located at the Group’s facility in Alcora, and cover  a total surface area of 1,400 sq metres, for the display of the latest designs and formats.  2020 also saw the renewal of existing production lines with the latest technology and processes. These projects involve a total investment of €45 million during the 2020-2021 period.

Grupo Halcón

March 2021: UK New Ipswich depot for Distribution Supplies

Distribution Supplies has purchased a new distribution hub in Hadleigh, near Ipswich, that will expand the existing four depot distribution network.  This facility will give the various group companies a logistics hub of 80,000 sq. ft, in addition to the existing 160,000 sq. ft, making a grand total of 240,000 sq. ft capable of storing around 20,000 pallets.

Located just 13 miles from Felixstowe, the new depot is ideally placed to enable the group to be future-proofed and prepared for the opportunities that will come following Brexit and the light now emanating from the Covid-19 tunnel.

It is envisaged that the new facility will be used as a bulk feeder hub where bulk stocks will be held ex UK, rather than overseas, to avoid lengthy delays.

Distribution Supplies
Tile Merchants

February 2021: UK Futurebuild postponed until March 2022

Futurebuild 2021 has been postponed until March 2022 in order to deliver an event where the built environment industry can connect in the most effective way.

“Following consultation with our community, we have decided that the event that was due to run on 2nd to 4th March 2021 will now go ahead from 1st to 3rd March 2022 at the ExCeL London.  The event will elevate innovation, showcasing the products, solutions, and ideas that will deliver the transformational change needed to address climate change,” stated Martin Hurn, Event Director.  “The 2022 event will be laser focused on the most pressing industry issues, which were identified based on feedback from previous audiences.  The event’s six spotlights and Arena programme will cover the fundamental issues currently facing the built environment industry: digital impact, whole house retrofit, circular materials, district energy, future installer and intelligent buildings.”

“We know that manufacturers and specifiers come to Futurebuild for a purpose — to showcase, see and purchase the products they can use to make a real difference,” says Hurn.  “We want to do what is best for our community, and our planet, and we know how important it still is for us to connect and continue to foster key relationships. We’ve consulted our exhibitors, attendees and our team, and the community feels that Futurebuild will best serve its purpose if it goes ahead in 2022.”

Futurebuild

February 2021: Italy Italcer Group acquires Cedir

Italcer Group has acquired 100% of the capital of Cedir, the historic ceramic tile producer from Castel Bolognese, Ravenna.  Italcer’s acquisition of Cedir, which has an annual production capacity of 3 million sq. metres of porcelain tiles and 60 employees, fits in perfectly with the group’s long-term strategic goals.

“The acquisition of Cedir marks an important step forward for the Group’s growth plans thanks to its all-Italian creativity and quality and its strong focus on the needs of the various markets,” comments Italcer’s CEO, Graziano Verdi.  “The primary aim of our integrated business model is to create a high-end cluster in the ceramic floor and wall tile sector, and this is where we are focusing all our efforts.”

Formed over a period of three years through a series of mergers, Italcer is now Italy’s sixth largest ceramic group, and produces high-quality products for interior and exterior use through a variety of top brands and historic companies (Devon&Devon, La Fabbrica Ceramiche Ceramiche, AVA, Elios Ceramica, Ceramica Rondine and Bottega).

Italcer Group has 530 employees, total 2019 revenues of more than Euro 200 million and 3,000 distributors worldwide.  The Group expects to produce more than 15 million sq. metres in 2021 and aims to reach revenues of Euro 300 million in 2024, with an EBITDA in excess of Euro 70 million.

Italcer Group
Cedir

January 2021: UK Porcelain Superstore reports 80% year-on-year growth

Online tile retailer Porcelain Superstore has announced an 80% growth in year-on-year revenue and looks set to hit sales of £8.5 million by the end of 2020.  The family-run business has also created nine full-time jobs during what is the company’s sixth consecutive year of growth.

Director Abbas Youssefi said: “Operationally, 2020 has been our most challenging year as the impact of the global pandemic was felt.  However, we invested in our fulfilment capabilities and, except for some slower weeks in April, we have kept to our growth plans and exceeded our targets.  This includes making nine full time hires across customer service, warehousing, and fulfilment.  And we are hopeful we will record sales of £8.5 million by the end of the calendar year.”

Porcelain Superstore, based in Wythenshawe, was founded by brothers Abbas, Ben, and Sam Youssefi in 2014.  The company supplies inspirational wall and floor tiles curated from around the globe including several ranges unavailable elsewhere.

The 2020 year-end in August saw revenue at £6,650,000, up 80% on 2019’s figure of £3,706,000, which was up on 2018’s £2,167,000.

“The growth pattern has been strong and deliberate, and is completely bucking the trend in the tile market right now,” says Abbas.  “Consumer interest in home projects soared during the initial lockdown as families reallocated finances from foreign holidays to home improvement.”

Porcelain Superstore

January 2021: China Chinese factory produces the world’s largest porcelain panel

Monalisa, a top Chinese brand that has been active in the large ceramic slab market for over 10 years, claims to have produced the world largest ceramic slab using Sacmi’s manufacturing technology.  Measuring a jaw-dropping 1.8 by 6.1 metres, the monster rolled off a Sacmi Continua+ line at the end of January.

The PCR 2180 line, the latest member of the Continua+ family, has a wider compactor belt.  This allows for the production of slabs as wide as 1,800mm, in variable lengths, and thickness ranging from 3 to 20mm.  Each PCR 2180 line can produce up to 21,500 sq. metres per day.

Monalisa

January 2021: UK UKCA mark replaces the CE mark

In the UK, many tile and stone products are required to be CE marked as part of Building Regulations and general legal policy.  Once the Brexit transition period is over, the European CE mark will be replaced by the UKCA (UK Conformity Assessed) mark in Great Britain.  Northern Ireland will still use CE marks or its own UK[NI] marking.  Among the products that should carry CE marking are stone cladding, flooring, paving, and tiles.  As there is no equivalent standard for worktops, they are not required to be CE marked and will not require UKCA marking.

The UKCA marking will be used from 1st January 2021. Products carrying the mark must have been assessed and tested in GB by approved bodies.  The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) will continue to be the UK’s national organisation determining who is accredited.

To allow businesses time to adjust to the new requirements, and to sell existing CE-marked stock, CE marking will, in mopst cases, continue to be acceptable until 1st January 2022.  However, if the EU changes any of its standards, retailers and distributors will no longer be able to sell products tested to those standards in Great Britain.  They will have to comply with the UKCA standard.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/using-the-ukca-mark-from-1-january-2021

November 2020: Italy Tecna Next information platform launched

Launched on 26th October 2020, Tecna Next aims to become the international meeting point for professionals working in the surface materials sector.  While awaiting the next running of the tile production show, Tecnargilla, due to be held in Rimini, Italy, from 27th September to 1st October 2021, Tecna Next is being launched as a showcase of process and product innovation: an online platform designed to promote awareness of technological excellence and explore new trends.

The tecnanext.com website will be an exclusive, sector-specific social network where visitors can register free of charge and search through all company profiles with the aid of an intuitive search engine.

Tecna Next

November 2020: USA Why Tile publishes ceramic tile hygiene guides

In the wake of COVID-19 concerns about surface hygiene, Why Tile has announced a collection of resources defining the health benefits of ceramic tile coverings.  The  Hygiene Guides, available on whytile.com, provide quick access to hygiene information on ceramic tile collected into one location.  The latest findings and health information on ceramic tile from industry experts take all surfaces into account, from floors to walls, counter tops, backsplashes, and even outdoor areas

“Why Tile responded to the demand by specifiers and consumers alike to understand the  advantages of using ceramic tile for our health and safety,” says Kathy Meyer, Marketing  Director, Tile Council of North America (TCNA).  “The Hygiene Guides provide an easy-to-navigate free digital resource  covering topics ranging from cleaning tips to post-pandemic kitchen design.  We will  continue to expand the Hygiene Guides with new information and research,” says Meyer.

“Why Tile’s purpose to be an educational resource on the advantages of ceramic tile has never  been more critical,” says Eric Astrachan, Executive Director, TCNA. “The Hygiene Guides help  navigate important questions on surface hygiene and put answers at your fingertips.”

TCNA is a USA trade association representing manufacturers of ceramic tile, tile installation  materials, tile equipment, raw materials and other tile-related products.

Why Tile, whiuch made its debut at Coverings 2017, is the result of the collaboration of major industry partners worldwide and is co-ordinated by TCNA.  The whytile.com website is designed to educate and promote the benefits and use of ceramic tile  for specific applications.  Why Tile is a free resource for consumers, as well as the A&D sector, for both residential and commercial projects.

Why Tile

November 2020: Italy SuperFaces debut is postponed until 2021

SuperFaces, the new architectural surfaces show that had been scheduled to make its debut at a preview event from 19th to 21st November 2020 in the Rimini Exhibition Centre, has been postponed until September 2021 due to the anti-Covid measures introduced by the Italian government.

The event, organised by IEG -Italian Exhibition Group, intends to provide a far-sighted response to the needs of a constantly-evolving market and to the growing interest in high-performance, on-trend surfaces suitable for architecture 3.0.

The event is seen as a marketplace for resilient surfaces, vinyl, resin and concrete, wood and natural fibres, and in general all latest-generation solutions produced using innovative processes or new combinations of materials.  The 2021 show will host the latest floor and wall covering innovations in various materials and will provide retailers, distributors, contractors and architects with an overview of the world of innovative surfaces.

SuperFaces

November 2020: USA Laticrete appoints Patrick Millot as CEO

Laticrete, the USA-based multinational manufacturer of tiling adhesives and other flooring chemicals, has appointed Patrick Millot as its new CEO.  Millot is the first outside manager to fill the position in the company’s 64 years of family management.  He takes over from David A. Rothberg, who continues as Chairman of the Board. Millot previously worked for 24 years at Saint-Gobain, most recently as CEO of Abrasives and Composites Systems.

Millot will be supported by the existing leadership team: Edward Metcalf, Laticrete North America President and COO, and Erno de Bruijn, President and COO of Laticrete International Division.

Laticrete

October 2020: UK Coverings Ltd acquires Tile Giant from Travis Perkins plc

Investment group, Coverings Ltd, has acquired 100% of retailer Tile Giant from Travis Perkins plc.  Coverings, led by Adrian Hinchliffe and Andrew Thirkill, aim to draw on their commercial experience to drive the Tile Giant brand forward.  Tile Giant is one of the leading tiling retailers in the UK with 82 stores.

Bought by Travis Perkins plc in late 2007, Tile Giant has enjoyed a period of sustained growth expanding from 29 to 82 retail stores, with a business turnover in excess of £50 million.

“These have been turbulent times for the tile industry, but we firmly believe in what Tile Giant has created with Travis Perkins, with its core proposition of delivering high quality, commercially competitive tiles and accessories to the UK retail market,” says Thirkill.  “This investment safeguards the future for Tile Giant, and supports the industry to grow as a whole.  Home improvement retailers have seen a strong return to business post lockdown, with sales buoyant as homeowners look to reinvest within their properties.”

Post-acquisition, Tile Giant will operate autonomously; continuing to pursue its individual strategy for growth.  It will continue to trade under the guidance of its existing senior leadership team led by Managing Director, James Heese.

Tile Giant

October 2020: Brazil Portobello now offers slabs up to 1.8m by 3.6m

Portobello, one of Brazil’s largest ceramic tile manufacturers, has installed a Continua+ PCR 3000 line fr4om Sacmi, capable of producing slabs in sizes up to 1,800 by 3,600mm.  Slabs can be produced in a range of thicknesses with both smooth or textured surfaces.  A DDD 3000 4-colour decorating unit forms part of the line for dry powder decoration.

To celebrate the start-up of the new plant and to mark the launch of the new XXL collections, Portobello organised a major digital event in October called Unlimited. The exhibition brought together big names in the world of architecture to illustrate the opportunities offered by porcelain slabs, describe the production process and present the new the Portobello Shop concept based on the use of these surfaces.  The event was attended by more than 5,000 professionals from the world of architecture, decoration, and design.

Portobello

September 2020: UK Topps Tiles posts robust trading figures

Topps Tiles trading update for the six week period that ended on the 8th August 2020, showed robust like-for-like growth; meaning that the Group now expects to record modest pre-tax profits for FY20.

Retail trading over the first six weeks of the final quarter has been robust, with like-for-like retail revenues growing by 15.5% year-on-year.  Desopite Covid-19, home improvement demand has been strong across the period, with DIY activity increasing sharply and trade activity recovering steadily from April lows.  While online sales have moderated from the peaks seen in April and May they remain above previous levels, leveraging the Group’s recent online investments.

Rob Parker, Chief Executive, said: “I am pleased with how well the business has navigated the crisis to date and feel that we are well positioned for whatever comes next.  Our response to the pandemic has strengthened the business and fundamentally improved our liquidity position, providing further flexibility and putting us in a strong position both to benefit from the recovery in our markets and to meet any future challenges.”

Topps Tiles

September 2020: USA Tesselle collaborates with artist Jim Isermann

Tesselle has concluded the company’s first exclusive collaboration with an outside designer: Palm Springs-based artist, Jim Isermann.  The range – Hedge Cement Tiles – are available in four colour combinations, and feature two modules that create a myriad of eye-catching patterns.

Isermann’s career as a fine artist includes a wide array of museum, gallery, public arts, and education projects.   Hedge itself is currently on display as a large-scale art installation at the Palm Springs Art Museum Architecture and Design Center.  Isermann is known for his bold, modern, and joyful design aesthetic.

Tesselle
Jim Isermann

September 2020: Israel Caesarstone acquires a controlling stake in Lioli Ceramica

Caesarstone, the Israeli manufacturer of quartz surfaces founded in 1987, has acquired a controlling stake in Lio- li Ceramica, an Indian manufac- turer of large size porcelain tiles based in Morbi. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2020 and will have a value of US $22 million, including $12 million in cash and up to a fur- ther $10 million upon achieving certain milestones.

Caesarstone

August 2020: USA Coverings announces expanded digital-format virtual events for 2020-2021

Coverings has announced an expansion of its digital experience, Coverings Connected.  The multi-session Coverings Connected series offers scheduled online events that provide attendees with educational webinars, CPD content, and an online showcase of tile and stone exhibitors from around the globe.

The first of three digital events took place on 26th August 2020.  It will be followed by a second online event slated for Wednesday, 18th November 2020.  The third and final digital experience prior to Coverings 2021 will be held on Tuesday, 23rd February 2021, which is the USA’s National Tile Day.

“Coverings Connected was created to support the tile and stone industry by providing attendees with engaging, relevant and complimentary content via a digital environment, and we look forward to continuing this mission through our Coverings Connected series,” said Jennifer Hoff, president of Taffy Event Strategies.  “Additionally, Coverings Connected provides our exhibiting companies and attendees ongoing opportunities for networking to promote growth and success across the industry.”

Coverings

April 2020: USA Coverings cancels 2020 exhibition and conference due to Coronavirus

Coverings, the largest international tile and stone exhibition and conference in North America, has cancelled Coverings 2020, which was scheduled to take place from 20th to 23rd April  in New Orleans, Louisiana, due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Coverings

March 2020: Spain Sales value rise as production volumes fall in Spain

The Spanish ceramic tile industry recorded a positive 2019 in terms of turnover, which grew by 4% compared to 2018 to reach Euro 3,740 million.  In contrast, the country’s total production fell by an estimated 5% to 503 million sq. metres.

75% of total revenues were generated by exports to 188 countries, amounting to an estimated value of Euro 2,800 million (up 3% on 2018).  This marks a new record for the Spanish industry and confirms the country’s position as the largest European exporter of tiles by volume.

Tile of Spain

March 2020: Spain Grupo Halcón unveils its latest growth plan

Grupo Halcón, a leading Spanish tile manufacturer, has anounced a plan to invest at least Euro 40 million over the period 2020-2022.  The Castellón-based company will invest in two new state-of-the-art production lines, a new logistics centre, and a new showroom. 

“Since the company was acquired by Falcon Private Holdings in 2018, we have invested in people, processes, and capabilities in order to further professionalise the business and lay the foundations for more rapid growth.  These efforts have already led to increased sales, in turn which support this investment plan,” said CEO, Francois Brendel.  “The plan will simultaneously enhance product quality and customer service in order to further strengthen the group’s value proposition,” con- tinued Brendel.  “Finally, the new showroom will proudly display our on-trend designs from leading brands including Halcón Cerámicas and Emotion Ceramics.”

Grupo Halcón employs more than 600 people across four factories, and has an annual turnover of approximately Euro 150 million.

Grupo Halcón

March 2020: Spain Pamesa Group continues its expansion programme

Pamesa Group, Europe’s largest ceramic tile producer, posted 15% revenue growth, an EBITDA of Euro 104 million, and investments of Euro 90 million in 2019.  It has also announced the acquisition of a 50% stake in Argenta Cerámica and Cifre Cerámica.  Pamesa’s consolidated turnover rose to Euro 704 million (+15% on 2018), driven by sales volumes of more than 80 million sq. metres.

The group invested Euro 90 million in 2019, bringing the total investments it has made since 2014 to Euro 343 million.  Pamesa has expanded its workforce to 2,119 by taking on 212 new employees.

One of the most important of these new investments is the agreement announced on 10th February with Argenta Cerámica and Cifre Cerámica for the acquisition of a 50% stake in both companies.  These two Spanish tile brands posted an aggregate turnover of Euro 280 million in 2019, more than 10% up on 2018.

Pamesa

March 2020: Spain Esmalglass-Itaca acquires Ferro to creat billion-Euro giant

Esmalglass-Itaca Group, the Spanish multinational owned by US-based Lone Star Funds, has acquired the tile coating buysi8ness of the Ferro Corporation.  This is probably the most important acquisition ever completed in the glaze sector.

Esmalglass-Itaca, which also acquired Fritta in 2015, will emerge as the unchallenged world leader in the ceramic colour and glaze sector with a turnover of around a billion euros. The Vila-Real-based group has 1,650 employees across 20 production units in Spain, Italy, Portugal, Russia, Turkey, Poland, Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Indonesia, China, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, and India.  In 2018, Esmalglass-Itaca Group posted revenue of Euro 470 million.  Ferro’s Tile Coatings Business had annual sales of $510 million for the year ended 30th September 2019.

Esmalglass-Itaca
Fritta
Ferro

February 2020: Italy New Creative Centre for Casalgrande Padana

Casalgrande Padana, one of the leading names in Italian tile manufacturing, has opened Creative Centre 2 allowing a significant expansion of the showroom which displays the wide range of ceramic solutions available from the company.

The Creative Centres have been devised to move beyond the traditional concept of a sales showroom.  They serve as a meeting point between ceramics and projects, combining exhibition space with communication, technical information, and an intense, organised series of activities featuring important international names in the field of architecture and design.  The first Creative Centre, built next to the Casalgrande manufacturing hub, has since been joined by similar buildings in Milan and Rome.

Casalgrande Padana

February 2020: USA Creative Edge acquires Custom Flooring Insets

Creative Edge of Iowa has acquired Chicago-based Custom Flooring Insets (CFI).  The acquisition merges complementary skills, amd also bolsters Creative Edge’s position as the largest waterjet operation in the USA.  The expanded company will be marketed under the Creative Edge brand.

Jim Thompson, Creative Edge’s Chief Commercial Officer, says: “The more we got to know each other’s business, the clearer it became that this partnership was smart – for both companies and for our collective customers.”

“The synergies are obvious: our commitment to our customers and quality products are a match, and our merged project portfolio makes us the most experienced fabricator of custom stone, tile, resilient, and carpet surfaces in the country,” added Nate Weaton, CEO of Creative Edge and its parent company, Weaton Capital.  “The proximity of the 150,000 sq. foot Creative Edge plant to the Chicago market is another plus that will allow us to seamlessly serve CFI customers.”

CFI is known for its flooring designs for athletic facilities across the Midwest.  In addition to their deep expertise in resilient flooring; CFI, like Creative Edge, also creates custom flooring in stone, and tile for luxury residential and commercial projects.

Al Stensrud, CFI President added “I have known Creative Edge for many years. They are committed to delivering quality products, and I am happy to pass the torch to such a well-respected company,” noted Al Stensrud, CFI President.

Creative Edge

January 2020: Italy: SITI B&T complete acquisition of Diatex

SITI B&T Group has completed the acquisition of a 75% stake in Diatex, the Vicenza-based company with a 2018 turnover of Euro 10.7 million specialising in the production of diamond tools for machining stone, ceramic and glass.  The Euro 7.5 million deal was announced in June 2019 and will strengthen the SITI B&T Group’s competitiveness in the field of ceramic finishing technology, a segment where the Formigine-based group already operates through the Ancora brand.

“This acquisition will enable us to generate new synergies based on Ancora’s technologies and, thereby, offer the market new high-performance products and new services,” said CEO, Fabio Tarozzi.

January 2020: UK New flagship showroom for VitrA in London

VitrA Bathrooms has announced it will open a 5,600 sq ft new flagship space in London’s Clerkenwell. VitrA London, that will offer a programme of exhibitions, social events, and talks, will occupy two floors of the award-winning Turnmill Building, designed by Piercy & Company. 

VitrA London’s ground floor will feature the brand’s designer bathroom ranges.  The lower ground floor will have a dedicated specification space, as well as showcasing VitrA’s broad range of tiles and other important elements of bathroom design, including flush plates and accessories.

Levent Giray, Managing Director of VitrA UK, stated: “Our aim is for VitrA London to become a cornerstone of the architecture and design community: a place for clients to meet, work and socialise, as well as simplifying the bathroom specification process for them.”

VitrA

January 2020: Ireland Armatile invest £3 million in Dublin expansion

Armatile, the Armagh-based tile solutions provider, has announced plans to create 20 new jobs and invest £3 million in a new luxury showroom and design hub in North Dublin.  A family-owned business that employs around 90 across three locations at Armagh, Belfast and Newry, Armatile will open the facility at Baldoyle in Spring 2020.

Retail Director, Chris McCann said: “This new facility will provide tangible evidence of our long-term confidence in the Irish marketplace.  We have supplied Armatile products to many projects across Ireland such as Mazda Ireland, Peter Mark Salons and the Hillgrove Hotel in Monaghan, to name a few.  A Dublin expansion has been in our plans for a number of years and, finally, we have found a property with a good location, transport infrastructure, and the right size.”

Armatile

December 2019: India Simpolo installs India’s first Continua+ line

Leading Indian ceramic tile manufacturer Simpolo Ceramics installed a Continua+ line at its Morbi site for the production of large format tiles; the first such line installed by Sacmi in India.  The new Continua+ line began production in mid-September, and will enable Simpolo to produce up to 15,000 sq. metres per day of ceramic surfaces up to 1,600 by 3,200mm), in a range of thicknesses and aesthetic effects.  The new line is integrated with Sacmi digital decoration machines, as well as a new dryer and kiln.

Simpolo

December 2019: Italy Finishing specialist Tecnema acquired by Breton

Breton, the renowned producer of patented plant for composite stone production based in Castello di Godego, Italy, has acquired 100% of the shares in Tecnema.

With its HQ in Mar4anello, Italy, Tecnema specialises in finishing processes for the ceramic tile industry.  This has created synergies with Breton since 80% of the company was acquired in May 2018.  The purchase is part of Breton’s strategy of accelerating its growth in the field of ceramic machinery and equipment, while offering customers a wider package of technologies and services.

Tecnema
Breton

August 2019: UK Victoria makes third Spanish acquisition with Ibero

Victoria PLC,  the UK- based flooring production and distribution multi-national, has announced the acquisition of Ibero, the Spanish tile manufacturer based in Castellón. This is the third Spanish tile acquisition by group, following the purchases of Keraben in November 2017 (Euro 274 million) and Ceramica Saloni in August 2018 (Euro 96.7 million).  Victoria’s operations in the ceramic industry also include Ceramiche Serra in Italy, the first acquisition made by the group in November 2017. 

Ibero manufactures high quality porcelain ceramic flooring, which is sold throughout Europe, North America, and the Middle East.  In 2018, Ibero generated revenues of Euro 30.9 million, with an EBITDA of Euro 3.1 million. The acquisition of Ibero will bring the group immediate earnings and will create operational synergies with Victoria’s existing businesses in Spain, where Ceramica Saloni is now fully integrated within the Keraben operation one year after its acquisition.

In the tax year to 31 March 2019, Victoria PLC posted consolidated revenues of £574.4 million (up 35.2%) and 44% growth in operating profit to £70.3 million. The ceramic business is becoming increasingly important for the group, accounting for 34% of its total revenue (£193.9 million) and 67% of operating profit (£48.2 million). In the year to 31st March 2019, Victoria PLC produced 27.7 million sq.metres of ceramic tiles.

Ibero Ceramica
Ceramica Saloni
Keraben Grupo
Ceramiche Serra
Victoria plc

August 2019: Brazil Cecrisa is purchased by Duratex

Less than two years after it acquired Ceusa, Duratex is expanding in the ceramic tile sector with the purchase of Cecrisa for around $139 million.  Cecrisa Revestimentos Ceramicos is one of Brazil’s largest ceramic tile manufacturers, with the Cecrisa and Portinari.

Duratex is a major Brazilian building materils producer, with brands including Durafloor, Deca, Hydra, Duratex, and Ceusa.

Duratex
Ceramica Portinari
Ceusa

August 2019: Turkey VitrA open Italian branch

The new Italian branch of Ec- zacıbaşı Building Products, the Turkish group Eczacibasi’s division devoted to ceramic tile, sanitaryware and bathroom furniture production, began operation in March in Sassuolo (Modena). The opening is part of a new strategy to promote the VitrA brand, a well-known international player in the designer ceramic sanitaryware and bathroom accessories sector. The branch will not only satisfy the company’s growth needs but above all will provide a more effective response to the demands of the Italian market by supplying a wide range of complete solutions for any market segment. The new branch, which also has a large warehouse, is led by Giliano Cava, a manager with many years of experience in the sector who has been appointed the new VitrA country manager for Italy.

The Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division operates globally with 13 production facilities, including 5 in Turkey and 8 in Germany, Russia and France. Each year it produces a total of 5 million ceramic sani- taryware pieces, 30 million sq.m of tiles, 400,000 bathroom furnishing units, 3 million taps and 350,000 bathtubs.

A globally renowned manufacturer, Eczacıbaşı Building Products exports to more than 75 countries worldwide through its extensive distribution network. Along with VitrA, the Division has three inter- national brands: Burgbad for premium bathroom furnishings and Villeroy&Boch and Engers for ceramic tiles.

August 2019: China Lamgea kit chosen for Marco Polo plant

The Marco Polo group, one of China’s largest ceramic tile manuafctuers, will install a Lamgea plant from System Ceramics for the production of 1,200 by 2,400mm and 1,600 by 3,200mm ceramic slabs in thicknesses ranging from 6 to 12mm.  The line will be installed in the group’s new factory in the southern province of Jiangxi.

Marco Polo will also install three Creadigit BS digital printers: high-speed single-pass inkjet printers that can create highly realistic images using a graphic surface area of up to 200 sq. metres.

The Marco Polo group has its HQ in in the city of Dong Guang and has several factories in China.  In 2016 its total annual production was over 200 million sq. metres.  In 2016 it established American Wonder Porcelain, based in Lebanon, Tennessee, in the USA.  System Ceramics supplied digital decoration, storage, and packaging solutions for the plant when it started up in 2017.

Marco Polo
Wonder Porcelain

July 2019: Italy Sacmi’s revenues rise to €1.4 billion

Sacmi Group posted further growth figures in 2018, including revenues of Euro 1.4 billion, and a balance sheet profit of Euro 50 million.  The Group’s export share remained stable at 85% of revenues, while investments rose to Euro 42 million.  The workforce was expanded to more than 4,500 employees.

“2018 produced one of the best results in Sacmi’s history, with an improvement in net operating margin with respect to the previous year,” noted Chairman, Paolo Mongardi.  “This performance is all the more significant when viewed against the progressive weakening of the international economic situation during the year.”

The Sacmi Imola parent company’s sales were largely driven by the Ceramics Division, which accounted for around 70% of sales volume.

Sacmi

April 2019: Italy Futuristic new HQ for Durst

Durst, a global leader in the production of inkjet printing, has opened its new headquarters in a futuristic building set amongst mountains in South Tyrol.  The striking building features a flat, floating wing structure with a 35 metre, six-storey, concrete tower; and a metal powder-coated façade featuring 850 multicoloured LED-illuminated windows are arranged in a pixel-like fashion reminiscent of the world of photography and digital printing,

The futuristic building, which took almost two years to complete, was designed by architects Patrik Pedò and Juri Pobitzer from the Bolzano-based practice Monovolume, who integrated the new wing with the existing headquarters and production facility while at the same time creating a powerful connection between past and future.  The iconic design for a company building with a tower was first presented more than 50 years ago by architect Othmar Barth, designer of the first Durst facility, although it was never built.

Durst Group

April 2019: France Marazzi opens Lyon showroom

Marazzi has opened two new showrooms in Lyon, France, and Milan, Italy, with stylistic research, creativity, and innovation as the key components.  The 400 sq.m+ showroom in Lyon hosts a large area devoted to extra-large porcelain surfaces, a technical area with a materials library, a series of mockups with ideas and examples of possible uses of ceramic for any living space, and an outdoor garden ar-ea where visitors can try out exte- rior products.

The showroom in Milan, in the centre of the Durini design district, was expanded and renovated by architects Antonio Citterio and Patricia Viel.  It was unveiled during the International Furniture Show in April.


Diary of a Tile Addict article here

Marazzi Group

April 2019: Pakistan Master Tiles to increase annual capacity to 40 million sq.m

Master Tiles, a leading Pakistani ceramic group founded in 1982, is set to install a new complete plant supplied by SITI B&T Group in its facility in Gujranwala, Punjab.  The investment, valued at Euro 37 million, will increase Master Tiles’ production capacity from 15 to 40 million sq. metres per annum; making the Pakistani group one of the largest players in Asia in terms of volume.

Master Tiles

April 2019: Germany V&B’s turnover reaches €853.1 million

Villeroy & Boch, one of the world’s largest tile, ceramic sanitaryware, and tableware groups, posted consolidated revenue of Euro 853.1 million in 2018, up 2% on 2017, along with a 7.6% improvement in EBIT to Euro 53.6 million.  The Bathroom and Wellness division generated more than two-thirds of the group’s revenues (Euro 584.3 million, up 4.7%.  This offset the fall in the Tableware segment (down 4.4% to Euro 266.2 million.   The UK experienced a decline in revenue partly as a result of the weakness of the pound (-7.3%), whereas Southern Europe enjoyed an outstanding revenue performance (+7.6%) and revenue in Germany continued to rise (+1.3%). Demand was much stronger outside Europe, where revenue increased by 22.8% overall to Euro 130.1 million.  The Asia-Pacific region again achieved strong growth (+33.4%), passing the Euro 100 million.  China contributed greatly to this with a 31.5% rise in revenue.

Villeroy & Boch

April 2019: Italy SITI B&T’s growth built on strong exports

The SITI B&T Group saw revenue grow in 2018 to reach Euro 206.2 million (up 1.4% from Euro 203.3 million in 2017.  This was largely driven by the increase in sales of complete ceramic production lines in international markets.  Export share reached 88.2% of turnover (compared to 83.5% in 2017).

EBITDA grew by 5.8% to Euro 19.2 million: 9.3% of sales reve nues. The Group’s consolidated net profits grew by 38.7% from Euro 5 to 6.9 million.

SITI B&T Group

April 2019: USA Colorobbia’s US operations set for Tennessee

Cookeville, Tennessee has been chosen as the location for the new US headquarters of the Colorobbia group.  The new 5,000 sq. metre warehouse will begin operation in June 2019: the first step in the Italian colour company’s plans to support ceramic companies operating in the US tile valley.  The new facility will guarantee faster deliveries of products manufactured in the Colorobbia’s plants in Italy, Spain, and Mexico.  Colorobbia USA is also planning to build a technical laboratory.

Colorobbia

March 2019: Turkey VitrA opens Italian branche in Sassuolo

The new Italian branch of Eczacıbası Building Products began operation in March in Sassuolo, Italy.  The opening is part of a new strategy to promote the VitrA brand, a well-known international player in tiles, designer sanitaryware, and bathroom accessories.  The branch will provide a more effective response to the demands of the Italian market by supplying a wide range of complete solutions for any market segment.  The new branch, which also has a large warehouse, is led by Giliano Cava, who has been appointed the new VitrA country manager for Italy.

The Eczacıbası Building Products Division operates globally with 13 production facilities, including 5 in Turkey and 8 in Germany, Russia, and France.  Each year it produces a total of 5 million ceramic sanitaryware pieces, 30 million sq. metres of tiles, 400,000 bathroom furnishing units, 3 million taps, and 350,000 bathtubs.

Eczacıbası Building Products exports to more than 75 countries world-wide through its extensive distribution network. Along with VitrA, the Division has three inter- national brands: Burgbad, Villeroy & Boch, and Engers.

VitrA

February 2019: Spain Pamesa reports 10% turnover growth

Pamesa Group’s turnover in 2018 reached Euro 643 million; up 10% from Euro 584 million in 2017).  71% of the Group’s ceramic sector revenues were generated by exports, with total export sales of more than 75 million sq. metres.  EBITDA grew to Euro 90 million.  In 2018 the Group invested Euro 70 million in expanding production capacity and improving logistics, including building a 600,000 sq. metre materials storage area.  In 2018 Pamesa Group expanded its workforce by 9% to 1,907 employees.

Pamesa

February 2019: Italy Coesia invests in System’s ceramics businesses

On 14th January, Coesia acquired 60% of System’s ceramics businesses (four companies: System Spa, Tosilab Spa, Studio 1 Srl and Ciesse Elettronica Srl) through a new company: System Ceramics.

Founder Franco Stefani will keep a 40% stake, and will stay on as Chairman of the Board, and Director of the R&D department.  Luca Bazzani has been appointed Managing Director.

System Ceramics

February 2019: Italy SITI B&T Group acquires Ancora and Projecta Engineering

SITI B&T Group has acquired further stakes in Ancora (20%) and Projecta Engineering (48%), bringing its shareholdings in both group companies to 100%.

“We have consolidated our ownership of two highly successful companies that are cornerstones of our Group,” commented Fabio Tarozzi, Chairman and CEO of SITI B&T Group. “Thanks to the synergies established since 2014, Ancora has more than doubled its turnover while Projecta Engineering, which was practically a start-up when it was acquired in 2010, has become a major international player in the field of digital decoration technologies.”

These statements are confirmed by the figures.  In 2017 Projecta Engineering posted revenues of Euro 35.6 million, while in 2018 Ancora generated estimated revenues of Euro 36.9 million.

Ancora recently launched a num-ber of innovative products including Polidry, the first dry honing line; Luxury, the complete and flexible large slab finishing system which performs honing, cutting, squaring and protective treatment application; and a fully-automated squaring line based on laser technology.

Projecta Engineering has also launched a number of innovative solutions including the Full Digital Decoration line with eco-friendly water-based technology, the Industry 4.0 supervision unit, and Innova, the series of digital printers for large sizes.

SITI B&T

February 2019: Spain Porcelanosa reports 3.4% growth

Porcelanosa Group, based in Vila-Real, Spain, saw 3.4% revenue growth in 2018 to Euro 806 million.  The Group’s Managing Director, María José Soriano, announced the results at the 26th International Exhibition of Global Architecture and Interior Design, an annual event, which took place from 21st to 25th January 2019.  This features all eight Group brands: Porcelanosa, Venis, L’Antic Colonial, Gamadecor, Krion, Butech, Noken, and Urbatek.

In 2018 the Group’s best performing markets were Spain, Portugal, Russia, Mexico, and the Netherlands.  In 2018 Porcelanosa took on 300 new employees in Spain and invested Euro 100 million in 2018, while a further Euro 150 million investment is planned for 2019-2020 with the aim of improving energy efficiency, waste management, and product innovation.  A new wall tile factory should become fully operational in 2021, featuring 13 pressing and glazing lines, and 4 new kilns.

Porcelanosa