Mohawk to Acquire Unilin

Calhoun, GA, July 5--Mohawk Industries announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Unilin Holding NV, a leading manufacturer and marketer of laminate flooring products based in Belgium. Unilin had annual sales in Belgian GAAP of approximately euro 837 million (US$1.0 billion) and EBITDA margins in excess of 29%. The transaction is valued at approximately euro 2.2 billion (US$2.6 billion), including net cash balances of euro 28 million (US$33 million). Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO of Mohawk, stated, "The acquisition of Unilin represents the second major step in diversifying into a total flooring company. The acquisition of Dal-Tile in 2002 made Mohawk the largest provider of ceramic in the U.S. Since that combination, we have been able to grow market share, improve costs, and expand Dal-Tile sales at a 15.4% CAGR since 2001. We have expanded the customer base, broadened the product line, improved the merchandising and enhanced the service levels. "Laminate flooring has demonstrated exceptional growth and market share gains in Europe over the last decade and the 2004 U.S. market of $1.2 billion, which grew at 24% from 2003, is currently anticipated to grow in excess of 15% per annum. Unilin is a leader in high-end laminate with strong positions in both the U.S. and Europe. The market position and high margins of Unilin reflect the superior performance of the current operating management team who has developed one of the best recognized brands in Quick-Step." Mr. Lorberbaum continued, "Unilin brings to Mohawk a proven knowledge of the European flooring market and unique distribution capabilities through high-end specialty retailers. In addition, Unilin has a growing share of the U.S. market and is presently completing the expansion of a new flooring plant. Unilin is the only vertically integrated laminate producer in the U.S. with a modern HDF board plant in North Carolina. Our plan is to continue supporting the Quick-Step brand through the existing distribution structure and customer base. In addition, new brands and products will be introduced to meet the needs of the market. Mohawk can contribute to Unilin's success by offering an unparalleled U.S. distribution network and the capacity to accelerate market share in the United States. Unilin also brings an insulated roofing and other wood-based panels business with high value applications. Unilin controls and continues to develop significant patents for laminate manufacturing which generate royalty streams. "The present management will continue to operate Unilin and will make a significant investment in Mohawk. We intend to nominate Frans De Cock, Chairman of Unilin's Management Board, to the Board of Mohawk." Mr. De Cock stated, "We have grown tremendously on the heels of our superior quality, competitive products and innovative technologies. Unilin's legacy of innovation brings to Mohawk many of the key technologies that have driven consumer demand for laminate flooring over the past decade, including the company's technologies for direct pressure laminate, patented Uniclic glueless installation systems, beveled edge, scraped surface look, and many others. We are impressed by Mohawk's operational and financial successes and are excited to be part of the Mohawk family." The transaction is expected to be slightly accretive before synergies in 2006. Although we will not realize significant synergies in the first year, we believe that there exist many opportunities to improve the combined business including: (i) accelerating the market penetration of Unilin's products, (ii) leveraging Mohawk's brands and distribution, (iii) leveraging Unilin's U.S. production capability and (iv) providing an avenue of growth for Mohawk in Europe. The combination of Mohawk, Unilin and Dal-Tile will continue to strengthen our position in the market and lead to a stronger company.

Related Topics:Mohawk Industries, Daltile