Annual report - Residential Roofing

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

 

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Residential Roofing

The Residential Roofing division was defined on 1 January 2019 and gathers the group’s clay and concrete tile roofing activities (as well as components and accessories). In 2019 it focussed on its performance while delivering on the divestment strategy in place to enable the smoothest, most streamlined transition possible. Paul Van Oyen, CEO of Etex and Interim Head of the Residential Roofing division until October 2019, tells us more about the past, present and future of the business.

“We made targeted divestments and focussed on commercial and operational performance.”
 
Can you sum up 2019 in a few words?
’Steady’ would be one defining word of the year in terms of performance, with challenging conditions in some areas being balanced by significant successes in others. Our activities have evolved in a particularly positive way in Eastern Europe, while we have been able to compensate for adverse conditions in Germany. The other word, paradoxically, is ‘evolving’, as we have continued to deliver on the strategic shift of the group initiated two years ago.

 

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What is the rationale behind the strategicshift?
The 2011 acquisition of the European and Latin American activities of Lafarge Gypsum was a major strategic step for Etex. It took us a few years to truly assess how this milestone would redefine the future of the group. Two years ago, we decided to execute a strategic shift by focussing Etex on lightweight and modular construction. Our goal is to become a world-leading player in the sustainable, cost-effective, quality-focussed building technologies of the future.
In this context, residential roofing, which is a heavy construction materials business, doesn’t quite match our vision of the future anymore. This is a fact especially since the roofing market is being consolidated, which led us to make important decisions. Participating in this consolidation would indeed require a lot of investment. We decided instead to make these in lightweight construction, an equally capital-intensive business, but one that is in line with our purpose. 2019 was a turning point in the realisation of our ambitions. On the one hand, we created the New Ways division, which is dedicated to modular construction methods. On the other, we have divested two major businesses in our Residential Roofing division.
 
Can you tell us a bit more about thesedivestments?
The first step was taken in August, when we sold our Portuguese clay tiles business Umbelino Monteiro to roofing solutions provider Edilians. An even bigger decision was taken at the end of the same month, when Marley, the leading UK manufacturer and supplier of roofing tiles and components, was sold to Inflexion. I would like to emphasise that in both cases, we are convinced that the new parent companies will offer many new opportunities to Umbelino Monteiro and Marley.

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