Wienerberger Ltd

With the recent acquisition of Baggeridge, Wienerberger Ltd has become a leading player in the UK brick industry
Another brick in the wall

With the recent acquisition of Baggeridge, Wienerberger Ltd has become a leading player in the UK brick industry

Wienerberger Ltd is the Wienerberger group’s UK operation, offering clay facing bricks under the Terca brand and clay roofing tiles under the Koramic brand. This group has been manufacturing quality clay building products since 1819. The organisation is now the world’s largest producer of bricks and number two on the roofing market in Europe, with a total of 263 plants in 26 countries.

Wienerberger Issue 2 2008 cHaving won a number of awards over the years, the Terca brand represents Wienerberger’s belief in the use of clay bricks to provide a built environment, which is sustainable, attractive and harmonious with the local surroundings. The business’ facing brick range totals approximately 200 products. Furthermore, the Koramic range consists of an array of designs, which can be used to reflect traditional design, carry out refurbishments or produce contemporary architecture.

A number of strategic acquisitions have been the key to the success of Wienerberger Ltd. The organisation was founded when two brick companies – Chelwood and Albion – joined forces to establish ‘thebrickbusiness’ – the Wienerberger group then acquired this company in 2004.

Pat Furr, operations director for the business comments: “Prior to the acquisition in 2004, Wienerberger already had a selling operation in the UK for the Terca brand. This business was importing bricks from Wienerberger plants in Belgium and Holland. After the acquisition, this selling operation was combined with ‘thebrickbusiness’ to form Wienerberger Ltd. Today, we have 14 plants in the UK, with a huge geographical spread from Devon in the south-west and Manchester in the north-west, to County Durham in the north-east and Kent in the south-east. We also have a very strong presence in the Midlands as a result of the recent acquisition of Baggeridge Brick.”

Baggeridge is one of the best-known names in the UK brick industry. The recent acquisition of the business at the end of 2007 was a major milestone in the history of both companies. As a result, Wienerberger UK is now the third largest player in the country’s brick market. This new enlarged business brings together a total of 14 manufacturing facilities and two distribution depots throughout the UK giving the company the ability to be a local supplier on a national scale. Geographically the fit is perfect with the Baggeridge factories giving Wienerberger a strong presence in the Midlands. Together the business’ UK manufacturing facilities can now produce in excess of 700 million bricks every year.

Pat explains: “This acquisition has given us the widest range of products in the market. Two product areas where Baggeridge is particularly strong are with its range of blue bricks and its commercial and domestic pavers. These are two areas, which we didn’t previously cover. The Baggeridge blues are considered by many as market leading products and the extensive range of natural clay pavers can satisfy even the most complex of landscaping projects.”Wienerberger Issue 2 2008 b

Wienerberger understands that an increasing characteristic of modern construction, on any scale, is the treatment of landscaping elements as an intrinsic component of the overall design. Clay paving is now widely appreciated for its ability to unify the vertical and horizontal elements of a scheme, whatever materials are used for surrounding buildings. The ideal complement to brickwork, the Baggeridge range of clay pavers features a number of products, which offer a wide range of colours and textures.

Pat continues: “Another major benefit of the acquisition is Baggeridge’s clay reserves. With the long-term nature of Wienerberger we aim to have several decades supply of clay at each location. Baggeridge has given us a significant amount of clay and we now have a lot more options in terms of raw materials, particularly in the West Midlands.”

Wienerberger has also inherited Baggeridge’s Corium system. This is a revolutionary brick-cladding system that combines the aesthetic beauty of traditional brickwork with the construction benefits of fast-track cladding systems. Cost-effective and time-efficient to install, Corium is the modern alternative for a wide range of projects.

Continuing on its strategy to grow through acquisition, at the beginning of January 2008, Wienerberger Ltd acquired a majority stake in Sandtoft – the third largest producer of roof tiles in the UK. This investment marks the company’s first step towards strengthening its position in this interesting product segment. In the past, Wienerberger was represented on the British clay roof tile market by products distributed from the group’s plants in Belgium, France and Germany. With Sandtoft, the organisation is investing in a company with an established and growing brand in clay, concrete and slate roofing systems, and a wellpositioned product line.

Pat comments: “The Wienerberger group makes no secret of the fact that it wants to grow in all parts of the world and become existent in areas, which it is not currently in. The group’s investment into Sandtoft is evidence of this.”

Having enough capital for large investments is just one benefit of being part of a larger group. Pat continues: “As a member of the worldwide Wienerberger organisation, we have access to large engineering resources. This means that there is continuous investment into product development and improvement, which allows us to constantly meet our clients’ needs. Furthermore, the group also invests heavily in new sites and plant modernisation – this means we are able to enter new markets in the UK. Overall, we are extremely delighted to be owned by the biggest brick-maker in the world. The Wienerberger group understand bricks and is passionate about them, consequently we benefit greatly from this.”

With the government continuing to invest in the development of newhomes, the Wienerberger group believes that the UK market will continue to provide many opportunities for growth. Looking to the future, Pat concludes: “The main vision for Wienerberger is to continue to grow its presence in the UK, either by organic growth, strategic acquisition, or both. The long term housing demand gives us great optimism for the future.”