News

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