Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
Russia: Rockwool has completed an upgrade of its stone wool insulation plant at Troitsk, in Chelyabinsk region. The unit will use Power+ technology with enhanced micro-distribution of the binder and optimised fibre-spinning technology on the production line. These improvements are intended to improve the final product’s homogeneity and performance properties.
Denmark: Rockwool Group has launched a new brand identity including a new corporate symbol, a graphic representation of a volcano. It says that the symbol stands for the, ‘commitment to enrich modern living through processes and products that exist harmoniously.’ It will be used across all of the group’s brands. It is also intended to demonstrate to customers and stakeholders how the company uses volcanic stone to ‘enrich and transform modern living.’ The group has also adopted a new motto – ‘Release the natural power of stone to enrich modern living’ – to compound the theme.
“I am proud of the Rockwool Group’s long heritage in harnessing the power of one of the world’s most abundant natural resources in sustainable and innovative solutions that help solve the challenges of modern living. The updated brand identity marks an important evolution in the way we talk about our company, conveying a consistent vision and shared heritage across our diverse product portfolio’s full range,” said Mirella Vitale, Rockwool’s Senior Vice President for Group Marketing, Communications & Public Affairs.
Denmark: Bjørn Høi Jensen, the chairman of Rockwool, has announced that he will not be standing for re-election at the company’s annual general meeting in April 2017. He said that as he had met his goals to review the management group, start a new growth plan and introduce an ‘extensive’ improvement in results that he was standing down earlier than planned. He originally became chairman in 2014.
Rockwool’s external net sales for its insulation division dropped by 2% to Euro1.63bn in 2016 from Euro1.66bn in 2015. In local currencies the company calculated a slight rise of 0.7% for its net sales. However, its overall profit nearly doubled to Euro166m from Euro90m and its earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose by 21% to Euro389m from Euro322m. It blamed the poor sales on the industrial and technical insulation industries and the slow development of construction in Russia in both new build and renovation. In a statement Jensen described 2016 as a year ‘marked by tough conditions.’
The insulation and building materials producer also announced that it was planning to build three new production plants including a stone wool factory in Mississippi, US. Land acquisitions for the projects are expected to be completed in 2017.
Denmark: Sales from Rockwool’s insulation business have fallen slightly by 2% year-on-year to Euro1.22bn in the first nine months of 2016 from Euro1.24bn in the same period in 2015. However, the group reported this as a 1.2% rise in local currencies. Earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) rose by 61% to Euro114m from Euro71m. By region it said that sales performed well in North America, showed signs of improvement in Western Europe but continued to decline in Russia.
Russia: Rockwool division manager Henrik Frank Nielsen expects the Russian market to grow eventually despite a poor market for insulation materials at present, a troubled local economy and looming international political risks. He told Danish newspaper Børsen that Russia is still both a healthy and profitable market but that it is difficult to make long-term plans in the country. The Russian market for insulation materials for the construction sector decreased by 15% in 2015 and Nielsen expects an equally high decrease for 2016.
Denmark: Rockwool’s earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) have risen by 78% year-on-year to Euro64m in the first half of 2016 from Euro36m in the same period of 2015. Its sales revenue fell by 2% to Euro784m from Euro799m due to currency variations. In local currencies its revenue rose by 2.1% due to the Building insulation segment, whereas the Industrial & Technical insulation area continued to be challenged by low investment levels in the oil and gas related industries.
“I am very satisfied with the continued improvement in our performance, especially within the Insulation business. This is a result of the acceleration of our Business Transformation Program, improved market conditions in Germany and the successful expansion in the US. We are confident that we will deliver a strong result for 2016,” said chief executive officer Jens Birgersson.
Regionally, markets in Asia and North America performed well. Markets in Western Europe showed continued improvement but sales in Russia continued to fall.
Poland: Rockwool has inaugurated a Euro80m mineral wool production line at its Cigacice plant. The new line will allow the introduction of a new portfolio focusing on products for flat roofs and exterior walls. It will also allow for improved product quality, higher production efficiency and improved environmental credentials.
“The investment in Poland not only gives us the opportunity to take advantage of the latest technology in producing innovative stone wool solutions, we are now also positioned for further growth,” said CEO Jens Birgersson. He attended the inauguration with the managing director of Rockwool Polska Andrzej Kielar and other local Polish authority figures.
Russia: Rockwool has updated the package design of its Light Batts Skandic heat insulation material for private house building in Russia. The packaging now contains additional information signs, a barcode, information about the tiles’ geometry and the package volume. These were previously featured on a paper label. The new design is intended to aid customers understand how to use the product properly and calculate the necessary amount of the heat insulation.
Light Batts Skandic products with 50mm thick tiles are being produced in the renewed design at the Rockwool plant in Yelabuga. The plant in Vyborg will switch to the paper labelling by the end of August 2016.
Denmark: Rockwool’s profit has risen by 56% year-on-year to Euro28m for the first quarter of 2016 from Euro18m for the same period in 2015. Its net sales fell slightly to Euro494m from Euro499m. it reported sales of Euro368m in its insulation business, a slight fall from Euro375m in the first quarter of 2015. The company stated that sales growth had continued from 2015 into early 2016 in most markets with the exception of Russia where exchange rate variations contributed to a slight decline in net sales in the quarter.
“We continue to improve the overall health of the business. I am especially pleased to see that our business transformation programme is contributing so significantly to the strong Q1 result. The growth in North America continues and in Europe we see good developments in both Northern and Southern Europe, a trend we would like to see spreading to the core markets of Germany and France. Russia is the main challenge at the moment, but even with this important market at a low level we made solid progress in group profitability,” said company chief executive officer Jens Birgersson.
Denmark: Rockwool Group has become a founding member of a new cross-political network ‘Energy Solutions’ between business and members of the European Parliament. The new networking group is intended to build links between political groups and industry when discussing common policy options to meet the EU 2030 energy and climate ambitions as part of the European Energy Union.
Energy Solutions was started by Morten Helveg Petersen, Vice President to the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE Committee) and a member of the European Parliament, together with founding members from four different political groups in the European Parliament and member states including Angelika Niebler, Miroslav Poche, Ian Duncan and Mr. Claude Turmes. Industry is represented by companies such as 3M, DONG Energy, Danfoss, GE, Grundfos, EDF, EoN, Microsoft, Panasonic, the Rockwool Group, Schneider Electric, Siemens, Velux and Vestas.