Lafarge has announced the inauguration of a new plasterboard plant located in Germany south of Leipzig in Böhlen-Lippendorf, an industrial region now in the final stages of being redeveloped into a modern industrial site.
The Lippendorf plant will produce gypsum boards for interior finishing work as well as semi-hydrate for plaster products and liquid screeds. With an annual capacity of 20 million m2 of plasterboard of different specifications, its modern technology will make it one of the most efficient gypsum plants. The plant will complement the Lafarge network both in Germany and in neighbouring countries. It will allow to better service our customers, and to improve competitiveness.
The site of Lippendorf was chosen by Lafarge taking into consideration the particular attraction associated to the closed proximity of the Lippendorf lignite power plant, from which it will get its synthetic gypsum, produced by a process of desulphurisation of the flue gas. This will reduce raw material procurement, transport and logistical costs.
Bertrand Collomb, Chairman and CEO of Lafarge indicated: "In addition, a key benefit of the use of synthetic gypsum will be, through the exclusive use of recycled raw material, to make a positive contribution to the protection of the environment and the preservation of natural resources".
Lafarge invested 45 million euro in the site, creating 78 jobs. Most of these employees were taken over from the neighbouring power plant and retrained for their future job and for the construction of the plant. The qualifying of the former power plant employees was a joint action by the Lippendorf Job Centre and Lafarge.
With Lippendorf, Lafarge pursues the implementation of its world-wide growth policy for the Gypsum Division. In the past three years Lafarge has erected and took over several plants in North America and Europe adding an overall capacity of 180 million m2 of plasterboard.
Bruno Lafont, Executive Vice President of Lafarge with responsibility for the Gypsum Division said: "Lafarge's objective is for its Gypsum Division to become world market leader"; "By 2002 Lafarge will have an overall world-wide plasterboard capacity of more than 800 million m2."
Last year, the Gypsum Division of Lafarge sold 447 million m2 of plasterboard world-wide (an increase of 6,9 % compared to 1999) with divisional sales rising (in 2000) by 17 % to 1 billion euro. Lafarge Gypsum has more than 4 500 employees located in 23 countries and operates six plants in Germany and in The Netherlands.
Lafarge is world leader in building materials, holding top-ranking positions in each of its four divisions: Cement, Aggregates & Concrete, Roofing and Gypsum. In 2000, the Group recorded sales of 12.2 billion euro. Lafarge currently employs 66,000 people and operates in 71 countries. In Germany alone Lafarge employs 5,200 people.
Semi-hydrates are intermediate products used in a wide range of products. They are used for example as bonding agents or as finished products in liquid screeds, in chemical building products and in industrial plasters, and are also used in the field of medicine.
Synthetic gypsum used in Lippendorf is produced during flue gas desulphurization in coal fired power plants. This recycling helps to preserve deposits of natural gypsum, which are scarce resources in Germany.