Building Performance

Our four divisions are our connection to the market. Each of them aims at leadership within carefully selected business segments.


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2020 was Neil Ash’s first year as Head of Building Performance, Etex’s largest division. Its activities cover innovative plasterboard and fibre cement boards, passive fire protection solutions and dry construction systems for the residential and commercial markets. Neil highlights strong performance in an extremely challenging year and discusses the division’s ambitious investment strategy.

“An outstanding year in a difficult context through strong cost management, commercial excellence and a decisive response to the crisis.”

How would you sum up the division’s 2020 performance?

It was a good year for Building Performance, even in a very difficult context that nobody could foresee. Our teams successfully managed the COVID crisis and did a fantastic job of keeping supply routes open as much as possible and our factories up and running in accordance with the highest safety standards. I must emphasise the tremendous efforts of our teams worldwide, which made it possible for us to overcome unprecedented challenges in the most impressive way.

Furthermore, we didn’t stop building on our strategic ambition to further grow our plasterboard and passive fire protection businesses. The biggest example of this came in the form of two crucial acquisitions, one in Australia and one in the UK.





How do these investments fit into the division’s strategic roadmap?

In Australia, we purchased the business of Knauf Plasterboard Pty Limited, making it part of the Building Performance division’s footprint in an attractive market with significant opportunities for growth. This also includes the acquisition of four state-of-the-art facilities, a robust knowledge base and a rich network of distributors and suppliers.

In the UK, we acquired FSi Limited, a company specialised in passive fire protection solutions with a strong focus on fire stopping, which we will use as a growth platform for the development and distribution of a broad, competitive range of fire-stopping solutions across Europe.

How did COVID-19 impact the division’s staff and your customer relationship?

COVID was a fantastic leadership lesson for our business. It was amazing to see teams come together in solidarity on shop floors and in board rooms alike – the challenge brought out the best in everybody. During a tough second quarter, we carefully managed costs and viewed the new way of working as an opportunity to redefine the future of our interactions with customers. We worked closely with industry experts in revising our commercial structure, diving into customer personas and finding optimal ways to meet their needs and expectations to serve them even better.

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