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Beaulieu International Group acquires companies in Canada, Australia

Waregem, Belgium—Beaulieu International Group (BIG) has acquired two privately owned companies, Beaulieu Canada and Beaulieu Australia, which will be integrated into its Flooring Solutions business unit. The transactions closed end of June.

The acquisitions represent important steps in BIG’s ongoing international growth strategy resulting in a more than €2 billion group of which €1 billion is in the flooring business.

Both Beaulieu Canada and Beaulieu Australia will benefit from the size and scale of an international player with global resources in order to further strengthen their ambitions and growth plans.

The individual company names, product ranges and brands will continue to be used by the acquired companies.

The acquisition adds a second manufacturing plant to Beaulieu Flooring Solutions’ operations in the North American market, next to its new Beauflor cushion vinyl/sheet vinyl plant in Cartersville, Ga. Beaulieu Canada’s purchasing office based in China will also become part of BIG.

“We are very enthusiastic about these acquisitions,” said James Neuling, vice president of Beaulieu Flooring Solutions. “Our complementary product portfolios and ‘customer first’ ethos create great opportunities in these two important markets. BIG’s strong financial position will enable us to provide the investment needed to grow the businesses, while allowing distributors and retailers access to an even broader product range.”

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Beaulieu announces Vercruyssen's departure

Karel Vercruyssen
Karel Vercruyssen

Dalton—Beaulieu has announced the decision of CEO Karel Vercruyssen to leave the company. Vercruyssen also acted as CEO of Beaulieu America’s sister company, Beaulieu Canada, since 2007.

Michael Pollard, president of Beaulieu America, confirmed that although Vercruyssen was a strong asset, the leadership remains confident in the long-term success and future of Beaulieu America. “We will continue our efforts to increase efficiency and optimize operations, to ensure that we are best positioned for this company to thrive for years to come, and continue to offer excellent service and products to our partners,” Pollard said.

“We wish Mr. Vercruyssen great success on all of his future endeavors,” said Carl Bouckaert, owner of Beaulieu America. “His years of service to our family and his dedication to the continued success of Beaulieu was highly valued.”

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Beaulieu Canada announces price increase

G119342Acton Vale, Quebec—Beaulieu Canada will increase current base prices for all flooring products by a minimum of 4% and as high as 6%, effective Sept. 1.

“As one of only a very few Canadian manufacturers, Beaulieu Canada strives to invest significantly in new product development, expand product sourcing and continue to work diligently to streamline its operations and maintain costs,” said Mario Bergamin, executive vice president residential sales. “Notwithstanding these efforts, the continued weakening of the Canadian dollar against the U.S. dollar continues to affect our raw material costs, specifically U.S.-sourced raw materials.”

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Resilient: Sheet vinyl shows its resolve

January 5/12, 2015; Volume 28/Number 14

By Ken Ryan

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.51.36 PMIf a rising tide lifts all boats, then perhaps the same truism can be applied to the vinyl category: The great success of luxury vinyl tile has raised the profiles of other vinyl products as well, notably the sheet category.

According to top executives, including Paul Murfin, co-CEO of IVC US, and Dan Natkin, senior director, residential products, Mannington, sheet vinyl has shown “nominal” (i.e., single-digit) growth in 2014. And while it may pale in comparison to the growth seen by LVT, sheet is still growing and has many viable applications, both residentially and commercially.

“Sheet continues to be one of the best values and is a practical product for PM [property management] markets,” said Rachel Lombardo, general manager, residential vinyl sheet, Armstrong.

Murfin went a step further, calling sheet “the best value in the business. For the young consumer out there who has no preconceived notion of what flooring is or does, and who is simply looking to put an attractive floor in her home, sheet is a great option.”

Natkin said sheet is an inexpensive remodel product that is ideal for people who are looking to spruce up their homes before selling it. “It remains a very viable product category. As a price/value proposition, it is probably the most affordable flooring category with the exception of carpet—and it is way more durable than carpet.”

Sheet has also gained momentum in commercial projects. As per Alan Fennell, director of hard surfaces, Beaulieu Commercial, “From a commercial viewpoint, due to the unprecedented success of LVT over the past number of years, clients are paying more attention to vinyl flooring options in general, and sheet vinyl is benefiting from this vinyl resurgence. Sheet has also improved dramatically in terms of visuals, quality and environmental aspects over the past number of years.”

Lombardo said the flooring market is being driven by products that install easier and faster, and, as such, sheet has become a viable option. “Sheet is a very practical product with high ease of installation and repair, and makes for an attractive alternative to flooring with the attention to high-end design.”

In terms of segments within sheet vinyl, Murfin noted that fiberglass would grow while felt is “relegated” to the single-family builder market that is driven by habit and price.

Seizing marketing opportunities

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.51.26 PMIn residential projects, home renovations of bathrooms, kitchens and basements are the primary areas where sheet is being installed. “Comfort underfoot, warmth and sound reduction are the main reasons sheet vinyl is seeing some resurgence in the residential space,” said Sophie-Tanya Lupien, vice president of marketing, residential, Beaulieu Canada. “Some of the newer visuals are amazing and very easy to maintain.”

Healthcare—including assisted-living facilities—is the biggest market for resilient flooring products on the commercial end, with sheet goods strongest in this particular sector. The reason, executives explained, is because of the specific and demanding performance requirements of the health care space. This has allowed a flexible, durable and green product like sheet—especially homogenous sheet—to make significant inroads. Homogeneous sheet is primarily intended for use in commercial and light commercial buildings, and is frequently installed in healthcare facilities because of its superior durability and high resistance to wear, cuts and stains. Additionally, the seams can be welded to seal out germs and moisture.

“We have been gaining market share in sheet because we are telling a story about the benefits of the product,” said Jeremy Salomon, senior product and marketing manager for the Johnsonite division of Tarkett. “You can use homogenous sheet in most every application. We are testing and pushing the boundaries of homogenous, and we are gaining a lot of market share as others chase LVT.”

Property managers are gravitating to sheet because the product performs at a value while being the most water friendly and clean alternative product available, Lombardo noted.

Introductions

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 12.51.18 PMAt Surfaces, Tarkett/Johnsonite will introduce a new line of Acczent heterogeneous sheet products, more than doubling the number of SKUs in the collection. Salomon said Tarkett/Johnsonite is taking advantage of the style and design capabilities of its Tandus Centiva company to enhance the visuals found in Acczent. “Synergies with Tandus Centiva certainly give us a leg up on the competition in terms of design, and we are telling that design story.”

Mannington has invested in state-of-the-art printing, texturing and finishing technology to create more realistic visuals in developing Luxury Vinyl Sheet; its big introduction was at Surfaces 2014. “We are reinventing the category a bit,” Natkin said. “We improved the number of dots of ink we can get into a square inch through a high-definition print technology that creates a much higher level of realism than ever before. With that we brought in our expertise in other printing categories and leveraged our expertise in wood and porcelain to get ideas for sheet.”

In conjunction with the LVS launch, Mannington introduced a selling system that was a step up to a good/better/best program, which has historically been commonplace in carpet but not vinyl. In 2015, Mannington will offer that same selling system with the launch of new felt-backed sheet products.

IVC made a big push in sheet in 2014 as well, revamping its Flexitec program (8 x 16 formats totaling 170 SKUs) with new styles and designs, as well as a good/better/best option, and introducing an entire new line through CCA Global Partners. “Most of our activity in sheet is what we harvested in 2014,” Murfin said. “We’re doing new development work now that might be introduced in late 2015, and it has the potential to take sheet to the next level.”

In addition, Beaulieu Canada said it will show 55 new sheet vinyl SKUs during Surfaces.

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Beaulieu Canada unveils new carpet line

Beaulieu Canada logoActon Vale, QC—Beaulieu Canada is
proud to introduce its new line of high quality carpet, Indulgence. Described by Beaulieu as
 ‘The softest carpet with the ultimate in performance’, Indulgence is constructed with the company’s patented 100% PermaSoft solution dyed nylon fibre that is colourfast and stain resistant. Continue reading Beaulieu Canada unveils new carpet line

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Boe announces retirement, Vercruyssen named CEO/president

Karel Vercruyssen, left, and Ralph Boe

Dalton – Beaulieu Group announced a transition to dual CEOs as Dr. Ralph J. Boe, CEO of Beaulieu America, prepares his retirement from the company he has led for a dozen years. Boe’s retirement will be effective February 28, 2014. Beaulieu Group also announced that Karel Vercruyssen has been promoted to CEO/president of Beaulieu America, effective immediately. Vercruyssen was named president and COO of Beaulieu America in April, 2012. Prior to joining Beaulieu America in 2012, Vercruyssen was CEO and president of Beaulieu Canada for five years. Continue reading Boe announces retirement, Vercruyssen named CEO/president

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Beaulieu Canada, TacFast form partnership

ACTON VALE, QUEBEC, CANADA— Beaulieu Canada and TacFast Systems International are partnering to provide a totally adhesive-free, floating carpet installation system.

Beaulieu Canada will market and sell TacFast LocPlate products that feature a free-floating substrate and carpet products with a loop fabric covering the underside. The flooring surface engages the hooks and loops creating a mechanical bond that holds the flooring surface in place securely, yet is also releasable. Continue reading Beaulieu Canada, TacFast form partnership