Utilisation of the company's strengths for further growth worldwide was the declared objective of Lafarge Roofing in 2002. Extension to the range of products, the development of innovative products, the ability to offer user and market-oriented systems and services and the improvement of the company's own industrial capacity were in the forefront of this effort.
In the financial year just ended, the leading producer of roofing materials extended its position in the regions and in the product segments with growth potential. In Asia, a joint venture for the clay roof tile market in Thailand was founded in December 2002 and the production capacities in Malaysia were considerably increased in September 2002. Clay roof tile activities were also additionally boosted by the take-over of a producer in Brazil. In the area around Denver, USA, a new concrete roof tile plant opened its doors. "Concrete roof tiles are increasingly replacing the traditional wood and bitumen shingles there,” states Dr. Ulrich Glaunach, CEO of Lafarge Roofing and Member of the Executive Committee of Lafarge. In the meantime, they already have a share in the region of approximately 20 % of the overall market for the pitched roof. Lafarge Roofing enlarged its product portfolio with the take-over of the Swedish manufacturer of metal roofing tiles Kami. It is intended that business will be expanded in markets with a significant share of metal roofs. One of the main points of concentration here is eastern Europe although Kami products have also been available in Great Britain since mid-2002.
There is an increasing demand worldwide for complete roof systems, which offer the customer and user added value by the fact that they are complete systems. "Lafarge Roofing recognised this trend at an early stage and oriented its range of products and services accordingly with this in mind,” is how Glaunach describes this development. "This trend will make a lasting change on our branch of industry. Industry, distribution and craft will have to work more closely with each other and present themselves anew to their customers with the package they have to offer.” This demand trend will consequently be backed up by the introduction of modern marketing measures actively addressing the customer direct. This means that new ways have to be pursued. "As market leader, we are faced with the task of advancing our branch of industry further with new ideas. By way of example, internet appearance has been generated in several countries in Europe at the initiative of Lafarge with partners drawn from industry and distribution to be able to offer e-business solutions specific to the needs of the target groups,” continues Glaunach in this context.
At Lafarge Roofing, the share in revenues held by new products is above average for the branch of industry. In this way, the company is demonstrating its innovation capacities which is made clear by three examples from various different regions: "Cool Roof" is reducing energy costs for the air conditioning of buildings in Malaysia through a new roof structure concept. Thanks to a modified building method and by using new materials, the penetration of tropical heat into the building is reduced. With a surface coating for concrete roof tiles specially developed for Poland, the single-colour, shining roofs in demand there can be supplied to suit the market at reasonable cost. New quality standards and trends in roof construction were made possible in the German market thanks to the STAR surface and the BIG model.
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Dr. Ulrich Glaunach, CEO of Lafarge Roofing and Vice Executive President of Lafarge.
So the world builds better