Weber et Broutin France - Company Profile, Information, Business Description, History, Background Information on Weber et Broutin France

rue de Brie, BP 84
Brie Comte Robert F-77253 Cedex

Company Perspectives:

Our mission is to maintain leadership by exceeding our customer's expectations in service excellence and product quality. We stand for: high quality materials and solutions, combining aesthetics, comfort and technical performances, improved through constant innovation; complementary services to satisfy all specific needs; respect of the environment, within our organization and externally. We measure our success through the success of our customers.

History of Weber et Broutin France

Weber et Broutin France is a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain S.A. and forms one of the pillars of the French giant's Building Materials division. Weber et Broutin focuses on the development and production of mortars and cements for facades, tile fixing, ground and foundation preparation, and other construction and engineering projects. The company produces full-scale fixing systems, including the mortars, tools, equipment, and accessories needed for their application. The company also produces decorative façade mortars and mortars for industrial use. Weber et Broutin has operations in 18 countries, primarily in western and eastern Europe, but with a growing presence in South America (Brazil and Argentina especially) and Asia (in China, Hong Kong, and Thailand). The company operates from more than 100 sites, including nearly 60 production facilities and 20 warehouses. This network helps Weber et Broutin claim the number one position in the world for tile fixing mortars, the top spot in Europe for decorative façade mortars, and the lead in both the European and Brazilian markets for industrial mortars. The company markets its products under a number of local brand names, as well as the primary brand name, Weber Building Solutions. The company employs more than 3,400 people, and generated sales of EUR 742 million (US $780 million) in 2003.

Early 20th Century Foundations

George Weber founded a business in 1902 producing gypsum- and lime-based mortars, used as a covering for building façades. Weber at first served his east Paris neighborhood, but soon began shipping a major part of his production to the United States. In this effort, Weber was joined by competitor, and neighbor, Jean-Baptiste Broutin, who opened his own factory just 500 meters from G. Weber & Cie. These companies were taken over by Edgar de Vigan in 1927, and two years later, Vigan merged them to form Weber et Broutin Réunis.

Exports remained a significant part of the united company's business until World War II. Following the war, Weber et Broutin turned much of its attention toward supplying the domestic market, adding reconstruction and renovation materials to its list. The company grew strongly during the reconstruction period and the surge in housing construction and renovation during the postwar economic boom.

The late 1960s and early 1970s saw a wave of consolidation and restructuring throughout the construction and building materials industries. This process was encouraged in large part by the French government, which sought the creation of a smaller number of large-scale companies capable of competing on a European and even global level. Weber et Broutin became part of this process when it was acquired by Groupe Poliet. That company, formerly known as Poliet & Chausson, was in the process of redefining itself as a specialist producer and distributor of building materials. Poliet sold off its cement production unit to Ciments Français in 1970, and instead added Weber et Broutin's more specialized mortars in 1971.

Under Poliet, Weber et Broutin extended its range of products to include tile adhesives and technical mortars. The company took advantage of Poliet's strong wholesale distribution network--regrouped as Point P in 1981--to extend its operations to a national level by the end of the 1970s.

With its domestic presence solidified in the early 1980s, Weber next turned to the international market. The company's first foreign move was the acquisition of Spain's Cemarska in 1982. The company next turned to Belgium, adding that country's Betraci in 1984. These acquisitions, and others, enabled the company to extend its reach into other European markets as well. By the 1990s, the company had established a presence in the United Kingdom, The Netherlands, Germany, and elsewhere.

During the 1990s, Weber et Broutin stepped up its foreign expansion. In 1990, Weber et Broutin formed a new subsidiary in Portugal in order to acquire that country's Fixicol, itself founded in 1978. The following year, the company acquired the Stickfit brand, and claimed the leadership in Portugal's tile adhesives market.

Solidifying Global Leadership in the 2000s

Weber et Broutin achieved a major milestone in 1993 when the company acquired the Terranova brand. That company had started out in Bavaria in 1893. By 1927, Terranova had entered Austria, then Italy, and later expanded throughout more of central and eastern Europe. The addition of Terranova not only gave Weber et Broutin one of Europe's leading building materials brands, it also brought the company footholds in new markets including the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. In Italy, meanwhile, Weber and Broutin built on its local Terranova holding, merging that operation with a number of other Italian companies, including Into, Modenfix, Orsan, Pearl, and Pronit, among others.

Weber et Broutin also entered Switzerland in 1993, acquiring Stahel-Keller AG. Founded in 1906, Stahel-Keller had originally specialized in the production of soaps and detergents under the Favor brand name. In 1965, however, the company began an extension into technical products for building tiles, such as adhesives and cleaners, marketed under the Favo brand. The company grew into a Swiss market leader, and in 1987 expanded its production and storage capacity.

Groupe Poliet was acquired by French industrial giant Saint-Gobain in 1996. Saint-Gobain's origins dated back to 1665, and the founding of the Compagnie des Glaces, which gained a monopoly on glassmaking in France. After losing that monopoly following the French Revolution, Saint-Gobain began its first diversification effort at the turn of the 19th century, with the production of soda ash. By the middle of the century, Saint-Gobain had extended its range to include the production of chemicals. In the 1920s, Saint-Gobain began producing cellulose, then, after acquiring Italy's Balzaretti-Modigliana in 1935, entered fiberglass production as well. These operations also led the company to develop a significant insulation division, particularly after 1945.

By the 1970s, however, Saint-Gobain's chemical sales had begun faltering. Already in 1965, much of this division had been sold off to Rhone Poulenc. After the company merged with steel and iron conglomerate Pont-a-Mousson in 1970, it continued hiving off its chemical operation, a process completed in large part by the end of the 1970s. By then, too, however, Saint-Gobain had shed most of the Pont-a-Mousson steel and iron operations, but remained nonetheless a highly diversified company, with operations ranging from packaging and pulp and paper, to computer technology, to its glass and growing building materials activities.

The latter division took on still greater importance within Saint-Gobain in 1990, when the company completed the takeover of the United States' Norton, the global leader in sandpaper and abrasives. At $1.9 billion, the acquisition was the largest-ever by a French company in the United States at the time.

When Saint-Gobain acquired Poliet, Weber et Broutin now found itself part of a globally operating industrial giant--one of the world's top 100 industrial companies with total revenues of more than $20 billion. Weber et Broutin quickly took advantage of Saint-Gobain's global reach. In 1998, the company extended beyond Europe for the first time, acquiring Quartzolit, the leading producer of industrial mortars in Brazil. That purchase was followed by another South American acquisition, of Concreto, giving Weber et Broutin access to the Argentinian markets. Closer to home, Weber et Broutin boosted its European leadership position with the purchase of Germany's Montenovo Werke. The company also boosted its position in the United Kingdom that year, acquiring that country's Wallmaster.

Into the 2000s, Weber et Broutin became one of the core units of Saint-Gobain's building materials division. The company now also became known as Saint-Gobain Weber, and enhanced its global position through the unified brand name, Weber Building Solutions.

Weber et Broutin made its first entry into the Asian markets in the 2000s, establishing subsidiaries in Thailand, Hong Kong, and on the Chinese mainland. The company also continued to seek out new growth in Europe, and in 2002 acquired The Netherlands' Metzger, a producer of powdered mortars, and Romania's Batec, which specialized in tile adhesives, giving Saint-Gobain Weber an entry into that country as well. Meanwhile, Saint-Gobain had begun extending its diversified operations in Russia, and by 2003, Weber had begun scouting out locations for a new Russian production site as well. With more than 100 years behind it, Weber et Broutin claimed global leadership for its tile adhesives operations, and European leadership for its industrial and decorative mortars into the new century.

Principal Subsidiaries: Saint-Gobain Weber Stahel-Keller AG (Switzerland); Royal Tile Fix Ltd. (Thailand); Saint-Gobain Quartzolit Ltda. (Brazil); Saint-Gobain Weber Argentina S.A.; Saint-Gobain Weber Cemarksa S.A. (Spain); Saint-Gobain Weber Cimenfix S.A. (Portugal); Saint-Gobain Weber Corporation (China); Saint-Gobain Weber Corporation (Hong Kong); Saint-Gobain Weber GmbH (Austria); Saint-Gobain Weber GmbH (Germany); Saint-Gobain Weber Ltd. (U.K.); Saint-Gobain Weber Markem A.S. (Turkey); Saint-Gobain Weber N.V./S.A. (Belgium); Saint-Gobain Weber S.p.A. (Italy); Saint-Gobain Weber Terranova d.o.o. (Slovenia); Saint-Gobain Weber Terranova S.R.O. (Czech Republic); Saint-Gobain Weber Terranova Sp. z.o.o. (Poland); Saint-Gobain Weber Terranova spol S.R.O. (Slovakia); Saint-Gobain Weber Terranova Kft (Hungary).

Principal Competitors: IFI; Lafarge S.A.; CRH PLC; HeidelbergCement AG; Italcementi S.p.A.; Rinker Group Ltd.; Société des Ciments Français S.A.


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