Lafarge subsidiary Schiedel expands its business activities in chimneys and flue systems

17 November 2004

Important expansion of the steel chimney business Europe-wide by take-over of the British Rite-Vent Group

Company's position in the growing RMI sector strengthened

Market position in Belgium extended by take-over of Bemal


Oberursel, November 17, 2004

Schiedel, Europe's leading manufacturer of chimney systems, has taken over the British-based Rite-Vent Group. This means that the company, which already occupies the leading market position in the field of ceramic chimney systems, will also rank second in Europe for stainless steel chimneys and flue systems. Rite-Vent produces stainless steel chimneys and flue systems for residential buildings and commercial premises. Schiedel is the specialist for chimney systems within the Lafarge Group and is represented by its own subsidiaries in 23 countries. Its broad geographic position in Europe is unique in the chimney industry.

“Schiedel is pursuing its strategy of becoming the leading supplier of complete chimney and flue systems. This take-over will enable us to strengthen our business in an important market segment at international level and consolidate our excellent position in Europe“, is the comment on this investment from Dr. Ulrich Glaunach, CEO of Lafarge Roofing.

In the stainless steel chimney segment Schiedel has been active since 1999 in Italy. Based on positive experience in the past and the good market perspectives, the company is now vigorously expanding that business. This take-over will enable the company to double its sales of stainless steel chimneys to around EUR 45 million per year. The market for stainless steel chimneys for residential buildings and industrial premises, in which Schiedel is actively engaged, runs to approx. EUR 600 million in Europe. That is why it represents a large growth potential for Schiedel.

Legislation governing environmental issues promotes the sale of chimneys
The RMI sector in particular is a growing market segment because the use of energy-saving heating systems also demands the corresponding alterations to the flue systems and chimneys. These modernisation measures are either legally required or subsidised in many European countries. Now steel chimneys extent Schiedel's product portfolio in addition to the ceramic systems. This need for renovation results in new growth potential for Schiedel in the important markets in Germany and Austria, where the company has been active to date in the newbuild sector with ceramic chimney systems.

“This take-over presents Schiedel with the opportunity to erect a second supporting pillar in Germany, the largest market in Europe, enabling the company to become less dependent on newbuild business”, Glaunach goes on to say.

Complete range of products
The Rite-Vent Group, based close to Newcastle in Great Britain, is actively involved in particular on the markets in Great Britain, Italy and Germany and belongs to the foremost technological companies in this branch of industry. Some 40 % of its sales revenues are generated outside Great Britain and the company also exports to Asia. In Germany, the company operates under the name of Selkirk Technik GmbH, Waldbröl. Its range of products includes both single wall and twin wall as well as flexible stainless steel chimney elements. In this way, the company can offer products for all possible applications in the newbuild and RMI sectors. Throughout Europe Rite-Vent has 185 employees.

Market position also extended in Belgium
Schiedel is also extending its market position in Belgium as a result of another take-over. The chimney specialists have acquired Bemal NV. Bemal is a company with a lot of tradition located in Lommel, Flanders. It supplies chimney and ventilation systems and focuses to the multi-family housing segment in Belgium thus providing Schiedel with a good springboard to establish its entire range of products for detached and semi-detached housing in this market.

Schiedel is part of Lafarge Roofing, the roofing systems division of the Lafarge Group. In 2003, Lafarge Roofing generated sales of EUR 1.5 billion. Activities involving chimney systems accounted up to now for more than 12 % of this figure. Lafarge, the world leader in construction materials, holds top-ranking positions in each of its four Divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. Lafarge employs 75,000 people in 75 countries. In 2003, the Group recorded sales of EUR 13.6 billion.

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