Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
UK: Industry leaders have attacked the EU's decision to outlaw Britain's reduced 5% VAT rate on energy-saving products such as insulation and solar panels, calling it 'perverse' and 'hypocritical.'
The European Court of Justice recently ruled that Britain's longstanding reduced rate on the supply and installation of energy-saving products breached its VAT directive, which allows a reduced rate only in energy-saving products used in social housing projects, or as part of a social policy. It means millions of households could now have to pay the 20% rate when installing insulation, solar panels, wind turbines, controls for central heating and wood-fuelled boilers.
"The government will study the judgment carefully and consider next steps," said a government spokesperson.
Dave Snowden, chief executive of the Sustainable Energy Association, accused the EU Commission of 'the most astonishing hypocrisy' and said the ruling was 'perverse.' Snowden added that the EU's decision is, "Contrary to almost every principle and policy created to reduce consumers' energy consumption, cut emissions and help boost economic recovery across the EU."
John Sinfield, Northern Europe managing director for Knauf Insulation, called the ruling 'perverse' and 'nonsensical' and said it was a, "Contradiction where consumption of a valuable resource is rewarded and efficiency penalised."
Pedro Guertler, head of research at the Association for the Conservation of Energy, criticised the European Court of Justice for taking a 'very narrow interpretation' of the VAT directive and said the ruling meant that, "Everything will cost 14% more."
Richard Twinn, policy adviser at the UK Green Building Council, said that the ruling was 'ultimately bad news' for the UK. He added that the ruling would, "Push up the cost of ECO, reduce the measures that can be funded through the Green Deal and could deter people from installing solar PV and heat pumps."
"While it is true, as asserted by the UK, that a policy of housing improvement may produce social effects, the extension of the scope of the reduced rate of VAT to all residential property cannot be described as essentially social," said the European Court of Justice in a statement.
Denmark: Theo Kooij, division managing director of the east division, will leave Rockwool Group to pursue other career opportunities. Theo has been a member of group management since 2001.
"During his years in the Rockwool Group, Kooij has contributed to our development and growth in many areas. I would like to thank Theo for his contribution to the group and wish him all the best in his future endeavours," said Jens Birgersson, Rockwool CEO.
In the ineterim the east division will be managed by CFO Gilles Maria.
Finland: Walki is answering increasing market demand for multilayer laminates by investing in a new production line at its Valkeakoski plant in Finland. According to Walki, there is an extensive growth potential, particularly in the construction business.
The new line, which, according to Walki executive vice president of construction Kari Salminen, will be 'unique on the market,' will start operations in the first quarter of 2016. It will be highly flexible and will cater to several different product segments in addition to the construction industry, such as consumer packaging and the pharmaceutical industry. This flexibility will significantly shorten lead times.
The European Union's 202020 target, which, among other things, aims at a 20% improvement in energy-efficiency, is putting pressure on energy-efficient housing. Efficient insulation is key in keeping heating and cooling costs down. Along with a recovery in the European economy, the construction business is expected to pick up, which will have a significant positive effect on the demand for insulation solutions, particular in those products requiring multilayer facings.
"With this investment, Walki strengthens its position as the premium supplier of multi-layer laminates globally. Further, the investment supports our strategy to focus on the growing segments of energy-saving laminates for building purposes and on value adding consumer packaging solutions," said Leif Frilund, president and CEO.
US: Johns Manville (JM), a Berkshire Hathaway company and building products manufacturer, has been named 'Supplier of the Year' for 2015 by Insulate America Inc, a US insulation contractor association.
JM is the first company to receive the award three years in a row, having previously accepted the award in 2013 and 2014. Insulate America's 'Supplier of the Year' award recognises companies for the overall value they provide to the organisation through technical expertise, customer support in the field and lead referrals.
"For the third straight year, Johns Manville has risen to the top of the building products industry by demonstrating an unmatched ability to provide customers with the highest level support and innovative product solutions," said David Beam, president and CEO of Insulate America. "We are proud to recognise the JM team once again and appreciate the company's ongoing support of our organisation."
Insulate America is a cooperative group of locally-owned, independent insulation contractors that provide and install insulation and other building products for residential and commercial construction. It is the largest independent insulation contracting organisation in the US with 200 locations in 46 states. Representatives from each of the locations vote on the 'Supplier of the Year' award.
"Winning this award even once is a tremendous accomplishment and we feel humbled to be the first company ever to be named 'Supplier of the Year' three years in a row," said Fred Stephan, senior vice president and general manager of insulation systems for JM. "This recognition from Insulate America's network of professionals across the country serves as further motivation for our team to provide our customers with the industry-leading insulation products and solutions to meet their ever-changing needs."
US: According to Recycling Today, American Fiber Green Products Inc (AFBG), based in Tampa, Florida and Owens Corning, a Toledo, Ohio-based developer and manufacturer of insulation, roofing and fibreglass composites, have entered into a five-year agreement for recycling services. The deal calls for AFBG to recycle the fibreglass-related material generated at Owens Corning's Amarillo, Texas plant, which is currently being landfilled.
"The recycling plan in Amarillo represents continued progress toward Owens Corning's 2020 environmental footprint goals," said Doug Pontsler, Owens Corning's vice president of environment, health and safety and operations sustainability. "Concurrent with our progress to reduce waste generation, we've made securing more reliable recycling for fibreglass waste a top priority. The solution from American Fiber Green Products, which will convert our waste into useful, marketable products, will help us achieve our sustainability goals."
"AFBG is excited to provide recycling services to this market leader through our Amour Fiber Core subsidiary," said AFBG Chairman Kenneth McCleave. "This contract has been in negotiation for over a year and a half and will substantially boost revenue for AFBG. The project will commence upon completion of construction of our recycling and manufacturing facility in the Amarillo area. Construction is expected to take about 12 months. We expect a successful recycling program in Amarillo to be the catalyst to an expanded relationship between our firms and potentially include other Owens Corning facilities around the country."
US: Distribution International Inc (DI), a portfolio company of global private equity firm Advent International active in the mechanical insulation market, has acquired Insulation Fabricators Inc (IFI), which produces and distributes thermal and acoustical insulation products.
Headquartered in Hammond, Indiana, IFI expands DI's Midwestern footprint with additional locations in Ohio and West Virginia. The acquisition also extends DI's service range and features fabrication capabilities for a wide range of applications such as pipes, vessels, ductwork and boilers. The acquisition complements the existing breadth and depth of DI's inventory and enhances its ability to source any product for its customers.
"Outstanding customer experience has always been our mission," said Celeste Mastin, DI CEO. "The acquisition of IFI reinforces our dedication to providing clients with critical products and services anywhere across our growing footprint. Having completed 12 acquisitions over four years strengthens our strategy and supports our service goals."
"DI's customer centric focus parallels our own commitment and service philosophy at IFI. Since founding IFI in 1979, we have made customer service the hub of this business and we are proud of what we have built with the help of our employees. The opportunity to join DI, coupled with the resources that will now be available, allows us to further enhance the customer experience and better serve project needs," said IFI founder Larry McNabb and president and CEO Ted McNabb in a joint statement.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi International Petrochemical Company (Sipchem) has commenced commercial operation of a cable insulation polymers plant owned by Gulf Advanced Cables Insulation Company, a Sipchem affiliate, at its complex in Jubail Industrial City.
The plant produces several types of cable insulation polymers that are used to fabricate electrical cable insulation materials. Gulf Advanced Cables Insulation Company will market the products. Such specialised products are considered part of the company's strategy to execute comprehensive transformation projects in addition to its existing products. The raw materials, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), will be provided by International Polymers Company (IPC), a Sipchem affiliate. The plant will meet local and global demand.
US: Installed Building Products has acquired Layman Brothers Contracting based in Powhatan, Virginia and Bluegrass Insulation of Bowling Green, Kentucky.
UK: Gloucester-based Advanced Insulation, which manufactures technical coatings and specialised passive fire protection and thermal insulation materials, has acquired Nottinghamshire-based Covertherm Limited, a manufacturer of insulation jackets. Covertherm's range of bespoke thermal insulation jacket and cover solutions will complement Advanced Insulation's range of flexible fire protection jackets.
"At a time when many manufacturers are looking abroad for low-cost production solutions, we're looking to reverse that trend. This acquisition will provide a UK manufacturing base for our ContraFlex range of passive fire insulation jackets, which will now be produced by Covertherm for the UK and export markets," said Advanced Insulation's managing director Andrew Bennion. "It is also an opportunity for Covertherm's own portfolio to be introduced to Advanced Insulation's other jacket manufacturing bases and we expect the company to grow significantly over the next 12 months."
The new UK manufacturing facility adds to already established production plants in the UAE, Kazakhstan and South Korea and will provide increased production capacity that will help to cope with the increasing demand for ContraFlex products.
Saudi Arabia: Knauf Exeed Insulation has won a contract to provide insulation to reduce the noise levels at Saudi Arabia's Grand Mosque as it undergoes extension.
"We are proud to be part of this historic project. The Grand Mosque is the main attraction for over 16 million pilgrims who enter Makkah each year. Our challenge is to provide noise reduction for the worshippers using the most sustainable eco-friendly insulation materials," said Daniele Cerutti, general manager of Knauf Exeed Insulation. "The consultants and the contractors opted for KB blanket insulation, a lightweight blanket of glasswool bonded with Ecose technology. In line with sustainable practices, Ecose uses natural and more sustainable organic materials than the non-renewable, phenol-formaldehyde or acrylic based resins traditionally used."