Etex confirms its portfolio shift by acquiring thermal and acoustic insulation expert URSA
The new year sees Etex consolidate its portfolio of sustainable business activities through the acquisition of URSA, a European leader in insulation solutions. Etex secures a new business growth platform through the deal, alongside an opportunity to continue playing a pivotal role in addressing sustainability challenges. By adding insulation expertise to its plasterboard, fibre-cement, passive fire protection and modular offering, Etex will also extend its ability to provide systems and solutions. This latest acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.
URSA: A European leader in glass mineral wool and XPS insulation with more than 70 years of expertise and a strong brand
As European leader in extruded polystyrene (XPS) and featuring among the top 3 for glass mineral wool, URSA offers an extensive range of insulation applications for buildings’ envelope as well as internal partitions and ceilings. Like Etex, it prides itself on the sustainability and comfort features of its products. The story of URSA started back in 1949 as a small family business but has since developed into a major international player in its field. More recently in 2017 it was acquired by Xella Group.
URSA’s activities are present across more than 20 countries in Europe, including France, Germany, Spain, and Poland, in addition to Russia. The company operates 13 production sites and covers most countries where Etex is already operating through its other divisions. Headquartered in Madrid, URSA brings a reliable European supply chain network and a team of over 1,700 dedicated employees for a revenue of circa EUR 500 million.
Responding to climate change at EU level will be driven by building renovation and insulation materials such as those manufactured by URSA
Climate change, resource scarcity, ageing infrastructure and housing shortages are omnipresent issues for Europe and the planet. The figures tell the story, with buildings being responsible for 40% of energy consumption in the EU, two thirds of which is for heating and cooling. The EU, as part of its efforts to be a global leader on environmental matters, launched the Green Deal in December 2019. Insulation materials are a key component in achieving significant energy savings and drastically reducing CO2 emissions. A startling 75% of European buildings are not energy efficient. And since 85-95% of today’s buildings will still be in use in 2050, renovation is a critical driver. Renovation rates in Europe are expected to double in the next 10 years, with 35 million buildings earmarked for renovation by 2030.
Etex, through this latest strategic move, continues inspiring ways of living by helping Europe address these challenges thanks to URSA’s expertise. The company delivers high-performance solutions to achieve the superior level of energy performance required in a building. Moreover, URSA’s glass wool insulating materials are cost-effective given their high quality, durability, and minimal maintenance requirements. Finally, its general product range uses a considerable proportion of recycled materials in its manufacturing processes.
Confirmed portfolio shift of Etex towards lightweight and sustainable solutions with insulation as a new growth platform
This acquisition is a new major milestone in Etex’s strategic shift to become a global player in lightweight and sustainable building solutions. It comes on the back of previous milestones, notably becoming the owner of Siniat, the plasterboard leader in Europe and Latin America in 2011, exiting the ceramic business in 2016, acquiring a leading Spanish plasterboard firm in 2017 and leaving the clay and concrete roof tile business in 2019-2020. Lately, it came with the acquisition of passive fire protection specialist FSi Limited in 2020, the creation of the New Ways division to spearhead Etex’s activities in offsite building solutions, with four companies acquired in 2021, and finally the acquisition of a leading player in the Australian plasterboard market in 2021.
URSA sits firmly at the forefront of global sustainability efforts, providing proven, workable solutions with the strongest sustainability performance overall compared to other insulation materials. The company has recorded strong results reflecting a lean organisation and continuous improvement culture with a high-calibre executive team. Renowned close customer relations, high brand awareness and superior products are standout pillars of its business. By adding insulation expertise to its plasterboard, fibre-cement, passive fire protection and modular offer, Etex will also extend its ability to provide systems and solutions to customers. URSA will be incorporated as a separate division, under the direct leadership of Etex CEO Bernard Delvaux. This deal is subject to customary closing conditions; Etex will provide further information once finalised.
Bernard Delvaux, CEO of Etex: “The acquisition of URSA confirms the portfolio shift initiated a few years ago by Etex to become a global leader in lightweight and modular construction. This acquisition is a strategic fit for Etex combining a new growth platform with a strong focus on sustainability. I have been truly impressed by both the quality of the management at URSA and its sound business model. I look forward to welcoming our new teammates to Etex and embarking on a prosperous future together.”
Christophe Clemente, CEO of Xella Group: “With Etex, URSA teams have a strong shareholder willing to continue the success story. I would like to thank warmly the URSA teams for what they have achieved during their time in Xella Group and wish them a great future.”
Jochen Friedrichs, CEO of URSA: “In Etex, URSA has found the perfect partner to further develop our sustainability and customer proximity core. We are looking forward to advancing Etex’s strategy, meeting new colleagues, and developing the lightweight and modular construction market together. I am grateful for Xella Group’s support over the past four years, which has enabled us to strengthen the platform that we will now expand with Etex.”
J.P. Morgan is acting as sole financial advisor and Freshfields as legal advisor to Etex in connection with this transaction.
Etex is a global building material manufacturer and pioneer in lightweight construction. Etex wants to inspire people around the world to build living spaces that are ever more safe, sustainable, smart and beautiful.
Founded in 1905, headquartered in Zaventem, Belgium, Etex is a family-owned company with more than 11,000 employees globally. It operates more than 110 production sites in 42 countries and recorded a revenue of EUR 2.6 billion and a REBITDA of EUR 484 million in 2020. Etex fosters a collaborative and caring culture, a pioneering spirit and a passion to always do better for its customers.
Etex has six R&D centres supporting four global sales divisions:
- Building Performance: dry construction solutions including plasterboards and fibre cement boards, plasters and formulated products, passive fire protection and associated products.
- Exteriors: a range of aesthetic fibre cement materials for use in agriculture, architectural and residential exteriors.
- Industry: fire protection and high performance insulation products for the construction and OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) industries.
- New Ways: high-tech offsite modular solutions based on wood and steel framing
Etex is Inspiring Ways of Living, for more information, please visit our website: www.etexgroup.com
- Big Data
- Building Renovation
- Circular Economy
- Climate change
- CO2 Reduction
- Deep renovation
- Energy certified
- Energy efficiency
- ESG rating
- ETEX Group
- Green Deal
- Green Recovery
- Healthy homes
- Human rights
- Mineral wool
- Renovation Wave
- Safe homes
- Safe life
- Safe work
- Solidarity Campaigns
- Thermal insulation
- UN Sustainable Development Goals
- United Nations Global Compact
- We are URSA
- We are Xella
- Xella Group
“Safe work, safe life”, a campaign to interiorize an essential concept
Under the slogan “Safe work. Safe life”, we have launched an internal action and communication campaign with which we intend not only to transmit our commitment to safety, but also that employees in each plant integrate it as their own in their daily lives.
Building insulation – a priority for the EU’s renovation plans
With an eye toward achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, the European Commission has set out to double, through the Renovation Wave strategy, the current building renewal rate over the next ten years. Improvements in thermal insulation are one of the main measures to reduce energy losses.
What does “deep renovation” of a building mean?
How to upgrade the buildings we have now so that they are fit for the future? Deep renovation is the best option for meeting the EU’s 2050 zero-emission target and mineral wool insulation is essential for this type of renovation if we want to achieve EU’s environmental objectives.
“Where I live, it’s never too cold so I don’t need to insulate my home.” – REALLY??
There are many false beliefs about insulation in summer and warmer countries. Insulation is key to maintain the temperature of your home throughout the year. A properly insulated home is one of the best contributions to reducing the carbon footprint and combating the effects of climate change.
As green as glass mineral wool
Some manufactured solutions which are very good for the environment remain relatively unknown, for example, glass mineral wool insulation materials.
Renovate to Survive - can we beat the energy efficiency challenge?
Have you thought about what are the real challenges of energy efficiency? There are many that we need to tackle but building renovation is key as it represents 36% of CO2 emissions. But it can never be an individual effort...
Measurably sustainable: Sustainability Report 2020
In the new sustainability report, we make our sustainability ambitions and targets transparent and measurable.
The New Green Deal in Europe: will it be enough?
Even though some may think the New Green Deal is not enough, we need to participate to make it real. Because we are not only speaking about climate change that per se is important enough. We are talking about a new way of doing things. And let's face it: we really need it.
Our goal: driving innovative strength
Innovation management, basic research, and technological development: This is the foundation on which we position the Xella Group for the future and meeting societal as well as industry -specific challenges – be it climate protection, energy savings, or resource efficiency. Since 2014, we have therefore been operating our own technology and research company (Technologie - und Forschungsgesellschaft / T&F) near Berlin.
A new edition of our Sustainability Report is coming soon
ESG is not a new topic or trend for us. For decades, URSA and Xella, all together, stood for sustainable and innovative construction and insulation materials that make a significant contribution to the energy efficiency of buildings.
Our goal: Responsible leadership
As a company, we take our economic and social role very seriously and want to be a fair, reliable and trustworthy partner to our customers, business partners and employees. In order to always comply with ethical and legal standards in our business activities and in our dealings with our supply chain, we place high demands on our governance.
Home Sweet Home
Home Sweet Home. More than ever this sentence has become more relevant to “the whole world” in the covid19 era. We are finding the need to live in safe, efficient and comfortable homes as they have become our only place to be when times are tough. Why don´t we rethink our economic model and base it on #sustainability and research, whilst at the same time protecting the #climate?
Protect the climate and stimulate the economy with efficient support programs
At the heart of European climate and energy policy is the creation of structures for a secure, affordable and environmentally compatible energy supply. Given the consequences of the corona pandemic, Europe is also facing massive economic challenges, e.g. rising unemployment, declining economic output, a drastic slump in local business and income tax revenues, cancelled or postponed investments.
The new 55% target for energy efficiency: is it feasible?
Can we reach the new goal of 55% of energy reduction? Of course, we can but we need to set a clear path for local governments to transform goals into executive actions. At Eurima (European Insulation Manufacturers Association) we believe in three main areas key to help all actors to achieve this goal.
Our goal: Safe work
Safety in the workplace is a top priority at URSA as part of Xella Group. That's why we see it as a matter of course to promote the long-term health of our employees and ensure their safety. We want our employees to go home from work every day healthy and unharmed.
#GreenRecovery: Adaptation of Subsidy Programs is Key Now
It is great to see that the German government decided on a green recovery package. It increased the budget for #EnergeticRenovation programs for private and public buildings, and social facilities significantly by 2 billion EUR in 2020 and 2021 totaling each year 2,5 billion EUR to reduce our #CO2emissions.
Big Data and building renovation: out of sight, out of mind
If we use Big Data for almost everything, why not use it for energy efficiency? Right now, we have no real idea of what is going on in Europe´s building stock. Information is key to change things, also in energy efficiency in buildings.
Our goal: A strong team
Our employees form the basis of our long-term success. We want to be an attractive employer in all respects. High-quality training at Xella and investments in our employees' qualifications contribute to this, as do fair, performance-based remuneration, a non-discriminatory working environment, and flexible options for balancing work and family life.
Women in construction
Today, it is still unusual to find women in construction. We would like to stand out one of the exceptions at URSA. Marina explains her work and her daily challenges in an interview in which she claims: "Girls must be empowered to design their future and fight for it"
Our goal: Improving circular economy capabilities
Building materials from Xella consist mainly of natural raw materials and are almost completely recyclable. URSA insulation products are already largely made from reused materials. Therefore, the conversion of value chains to value cycles makes sense for us for ecological and economic reasons. The circular economy is thus a key aspect of our ESG strategy.
Being energy certified means up to 10% more value for your property
The real estate market increasingly values sustainability in buildings. But how to measure your capacity for savings and efficiency? New buyers are willing to pay up to 10% more for properties that can prove their reduced consumption with energy certificates. Insulation is the first step.
Our goal: Reduce CO2 emission intensity by 30% by 2030
URSA will contribute its own efforts to help Xella, the parent group, achieve its ambitious environmental goals aligned with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
URSA joins Xella Group in supporting UN Sustainable Development Goals
With our business model, we have a high level of positive impact opportunities. To actively leverage this, we sharpened our ESG focus as part of the review of our Sustainability Strategy 2020 and worked out how our strategy can contribute to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this core vision, URSA has joined as well to work towards progress and sustainability together and better.
Acting responsibly: Xella joined UN Global Compact
Xella Group has joined the world's largest and most important initiative for responsible corporate governance: The United Nations Global Compact. Xella is committed to the ten sustainable principles in the areas of human rights, labor standards, the environment, and corruption prevention.
Our grain of sand to a Net Zero society
Xella has started an ambitious ESG journey and URSA has jumped on this train. Among our commitments, URSA MW insulation solutions will incorporate up to 80 % recycled materials in their manufacturing, besides other concrete and tangible objectives for occupational safety, diversity, and corporate social responsibility.
The first step towards insulation: mineral wool
Good insulation provides comfort, safety and sustainability for the home. Glass mineral wool solutions offer thermal and acoustic comfort, directly contributing to the reduction of CO2 emissions in the European Union.
Dialog with our stakeholders and our essential sustainability topics
Our mission is to enable energy-efficient and long-lasting housing – and to provide as sustainably as possible. To achieve this goal and keep improving, we are in constant exchange with our stakeholders.
Solidarity goes beyond borders
At this important time, we want to promote the value of solidarity by sharing the different initiatives carried out by the different URSA regions with the aim of preserving the basic needs of people and contributing to a decent life.
Sustainability at Xella: Best in Class in our industry
The reputable ESG rating agency Sustainalytics has given Xella a rating of 18.3, putting Xella in first place out of all 115 companies in the building materials sector assessed by Sustainalytics. Sustainalytics therefore classifies the risk of financial impact caused by ESG aspects at Xella as low.
Healthy Buildings for Unhealthy Times: Why Renovate Europe should lead the post-COVID-19 era
It has been shown that the condition of buildings can impact the health of the people who inhabit them. Good insulation or adequate ventilation not only reduces the risks of contracting diseases but is also beneficial for people’s mental health. What should Europe do about it?
Energy efficient and affordable housing – delivered sustainably
URSA, as part of Xella Group, stands for innovative, safe and sustainable building and insulation materials and is the solution provider for energy-efficient, healthy and cost-optimized construction. Thus, our product portfolio contributes to decarbonization and to a low-carbon construction sector.
Making open plan offices work – insulation, the critical ingredient
Open spaces have been a growing trend since 1990. But they are not always the most suitable option depending on where you are in the world. The sustainability, comfort and profitability of a business space or open space home will depend on insulation, climate and location.
Does the circular economy help minimize the environmental effects of the construction industry?
Applying the principle of the circular economy to construction materials and the renovation of buildings offers benefits not only for the sector but for society in general. The architect must be a fundamental part of this change in the way the world thinks.