US HB Fuller on track with European closures, integration plan

26 September 2013 22:48  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--HB Fuller remains on track with a multi-year restructuring programme in Europe, following the 2012 acquisition of Swiss industrial adhesives firm Forbo, executives at the US-based sealants and specialty chemicals producer said on Thursday.

HB Fuller announced in May 2012 that it was closing five manufacturing facilities in Europe and cutting 100 jobs in an effort to integrate the Forbo business and improve the performance of its operating segment for Europe, India, Middle East and Africa (EIMEA).

So far, HB Fuller has shut down the facilities in Chatteris, UK, and Vigo, Spain, CEO Jim Owens said during a conference call on the company’s Q3 earnings.

Two more facilities are scheduled to close in Q1 2014, and the last is expected to follow in Q2 2014, Owens said. The other facilities are located in Borgolavezzaro, Italy; Wels, Austria; and Pirmasens, Germany.

As for its stock keeping unit (SKU) reduction project, HB Fuller has eliminated 30% of total combined SKUs in the region, on track with its initial plan to eliminate 45%, Owens said.

The company is also making major investments in production capacity in Germany, France and Portugal, which will begin scale up in the fourth quarter of this year.

Additionally, its shared service centre in Portugal has taken on customer service and finance functions from eight locations, and the remaining consolidation of staff units will be completed by the end of the fiscal year.

“The European team is looking forward to being finished with the business integration and having the opportunity to leverage their new state-of-the-art business platform for long-term growth,” Owens said. “If the economy improves in the meantime, that would help as well.”

HB Fuller reported last quarter that it was near completion with the integration of its North American business, with the exception of a few investments in its production facilities that were expected to be completed over the next several moths.

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By: Tracy Dang
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