Annual report - Exteriors

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

 

Exteriors
Created on 1 January 2019, the Exteriors division is led by Michael Fenlon and is active on a global scale. This division combines the fibre cement exteriors activities of the former Roofing and Facade divisions, in line with Etex’s focussed strategic plan. Michael tells us more about the division’s challenging debut year.
“We’re looking at a challenging present, but a very promising future.”
 
Is there a word that sums up 2019 for Exteriors?
First years are always transitional periods for any organisation. The key word in 2019 was ‘transformation’, as we blended our fibrecement roofing activities with our newer, faster-growing facade business. As part of this transformation, we spent part of 2019 responding to challenges, upgrading quality and streamlining our processes.

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It sounds like 2019 was a year of mixed results. What were the drivers behind the challenges?
We made tough, rigorous decisions in 2019 to really put quality, commercial excellence and customer focus in the spotlight. We tackled quality issues relating to several products, which of course had a negative impact on the performance of the division but these actions were in the interest of our customers and our long term commitment to our markets. We evolve in a competitive market place and in certain markets (particularly in Latin America), we faced economic and political instability. We were only partially able to offset this instability in 2019 through our pricing strategy and lower input costs.
It’s important to emphasise that while the present situation requires a careful approach, the future of Exteriors is very promising. We have an exciting innovation pipeline, a crystal-clear strategy and a sharp focus on sustainable growth, which will translate into results in the coming years. More importantly, fibre cement products are both our historical activity and completely in line with Etex’s focus on lightweight materials. This will be key in our strategy going forward and offers a lot of opportunities.
Can you reveal more information about the projects in the division’s 2020 pipeline?
We have four big moves planned in the next months. Safety and employee engagement are critical. On those fronts, we have developed concrete initiatives to educate our talent, bring people together and establish intra-Etex communities.
We will also take customer experience to new levels through customer journey analyses and completely renewed brand stories for our core products. Finally, innovation is our biggest project pillar. Just like the debut of our remarkable Cedral Terrace product in 2019, you can expect to see innovative products emerge in 2020, as well as a new innovation business model in the agricultural segment.

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