Building products multinational Knauf has announced it intends to spend £20m on new drywall manufacturing facilities in the UK. The company said it was optimistic about the UK market, which is one of the largest drywall markets in Europe, and it anticipated increasing demand for plasterboard products as the industry increasingly switched to drywall systems.
The Quarry Products Association says aggregate sales in the first quarter of 2003 have declined, but sales of asphalt have increased. The QPA said crushed rock sales fell 9%, and sand and gravel fell 13% compared with earlier years. The QPA said this decline may be explained by increased sales in the first quarter of 2002 when sales were boosted to beat the introduction of the aggregates tax on 1 April 2002.
The Construction Products Association latest trade survey shows that almost two-thirds of surveyed companies reported increased sales on the previous quarter. A quarter of companies reported increased volumes of 5%. The CPA said that firms specialising in heavy bulk materials had experienced a fall in volumes because of the aggregates tax, a finding backed by the QPA. The CPA also said companies were feeling positive about sustained growth over the next 12 months, although this did depend on government investment plans.
The Grundfos Group has acquired Brazilian pump manufacturer Mark Peerless SA. Grundfos said this was a strategic addition that intensified its position in Brazil. Mark Peerless SA has been in business for 35 years and employs 130 people.
Bison Concrete Products has spent £4m on a new facility to manufacture precast and prestressed staircases at its site in Stourton, south of Leeds. The plant will also make wall panels for its CrossWall range. The company said it was using self-compacting concrete to ensure high quality.
Advanced Heating Technologies, which makes the Living Heat underfloor heating system, has reached a distribution agreement with International Decorative Surfaces, part of Saint-Gobain. The product will be available through 10 regional depots, and is claimed to be almost as easy to lay as carpet.