Information for, about, and of interest to the stone trade, including items previously featured in Latest News.

Genuine Stone™ Hits the Web

     HOLLIS, N.H.  – There’s a new online voice for the natural-stone movement with, courtesy of the Natural Stone Council.
     The Genuine Stone™ site, developed in partnership with McKee Wallwork Cleveland, an Albuquerque, N.M.-based advertising agency, reflects the NSC’s new branding message, As Genuine as You, and offers architects, designers, and builders solid examples of ways to bring that message to life using genuine stone.
     “Our primary goal is to create a one-stop shop for people to find the answers and resources they need with regard to stone,” said Sarah Biondi, account manager at McKee Wallwork Cleveland. “Further, the Website tackles some of the misconceptions and myths currently in the marketplace about natural-stone products.”
     The site offers a photo library of stone applications and installations as well as the variety of products available. There is also a section devoted to green building, explaining the NSC’s work in establishing stone as an eco-friendly building material.
      “Our new Website opens up a vast opportunity for us to create awareness of Genuine Stone online,” said Mark Fernandes, chairman of the NSC. “The site will be the go-to Internet destination for those in our industry and in the trades interested in learning more about genuine stone products.”

Pearlman Gets Stone Tool Supply

     ST. LOUISPearlman Industries Inc., the parent of Pearl Abrasive Co. and Keystone Tools, completed the acquisition of Stone Tool Supply Inc. on July 12.  Terms of the transaction were not disclosed.
     Atlanta-based Stone Tool Supply is a value-added distributor of a wide range of tools, equipment and accessories to stone fabricators.  The company serves customers throughout the Southeast from its retail location in Atlanta, as well as with a fleet of mobile sales vehicles, similar to the model of the Keystone Tools division of Pearlman.  
     Robbie White, Stone Tool Supply president, founded the company in 2001, and will continue to lead it after the acquisition.    
      “Robbie and his team have such deep experience and close relationships with their customers; we couldn’t be happier to have them on board,” said Jeff Fox CEO of Harbour Group, Pearlman’s parent company. “We work very hard to add value to our companies, and what we’ve helped the Pearlman team accomplish in a short time, including enhancing their presence in the important and growing Southeast, is an excellent example.”
      “We always put our customers first, and we are convinced that Pearlman is committed to the same objective,” White said. “It was this dedication to customer service, as well as the financial and operational support provided by Harbour Group, that made Pearlman my partner of choice.  
     “Stone Tool Supply has grown very rapidly and is doing great – we certainly didn’t need to do anything, but it was clear that Zack Pearlman and Harbour Group are building a winning team.  For our customers, the team will remain the same, but we’ll now have the support and resources of a larger organization, which will be invaluable in our efforts to continually increase the competitiveness of our business.”
      “Our goal is to provide our customers unmatched customer service and product quality,” said Zack Pearlman, president of Pearlman Industries. “Adding Stone Tool’s outstanding team in the East is a wonderful opportunity.  In a relatively short amount of time, Robbie and his team have built a tremendous business with great growth prospects, and I look forward to working with them to continue building the premier nationwide stone tool distribution company.”
     Harbour Group, a privately owned company based in St. Louis, and its operating companies are engaged in the manufacture and distribution of a wide variety of consumer and industrial products.  Since its founding in 1976, Harbour Group has completed 149 acquisitions in 32 industries.

Marble Falls In Toronto

   TORONTO – All of the 24,000 marble slabs now cladding the 72-story First Canadian Place skyscraper will be inspected after one of them fell 51 stories during an afternoon thunderstorm on May 15.
   The 308-pound Italian white marble slab dropped from the 54th-floor level of Canada’s tallest skyscraper, landing on the third-story roof of the building’s podium. The cause of the failure was unknown at Stone Business presstime.
   Canadian television network CTV reported that a tile-replacement program was in progress when Brookfield Properties, the building’s current owner, took possession 18 months ago. Brookfield had an ongoing maintenance program for the cladding at the time of the failure, which a Toronto city official described as, “an anomaly.”
   The marble cladding went on the building at the direction of U.S. architect Edward Durrell Stone, who served as a design consultant during construction in 1975. The Toronto Star noted that cladding efforts were delayed 32 years ago when builders received a large shipment of the wrong color of marble.
   Ironically, Stone was also the architect of the Standard Oil Building (now Aon Center) in Chicago. The 83-story skyscraper, when finished in 1972, was the world’s tallest marble-clad building; however, failure of the stone in Chicago’s lakefront climate led to a total recladding in North Carolina granite in the early 1990s.

Polycor Joins Rocamat

     QUÉBEC CITY Polycor Inc., the Quebec-based quarrier and producer of natural stone, merged with Rocamat S.A. of Comblanchien, France, on July 12.
     The transaction involved the contribution of all of Polycor’s issued shares to Rocamat. The final valuation of the deal will be determined before September 2008, according to a Rocamat release.
     The new group will employ more than 1,000, with annual sales exceeding $169 million.
     Management will remain the same, with no reduction of employees envisioned at either Polycor or Rocamat. The companies continue operating under their respective names. Existing business relationships, as well as customer service, will not be affected, according to a statement from Polycor.
     “This grouping fits perfectly in our development plan,” said André F. Scott, Polycor corporate-affairs vice president.
     Polycor Inc. is a full-service group, providing natural stone solutions since 1884 in quarrying stone blocks, manufacturing finished stone products and designing custom stone products. The company operates 25 marble and granite quarries and several manufacturing complexes.
     With 700 employees and a consolidated sales figure of €75 million, Rocamat is the world's leading producer of limestone; the company also deals in granite blocks, slabs and flooring. Another company held by Rocamat, L’Européenne de Marbre, shows recent annual sales of €15 million and employs 50.  
     Rocamat operates 35 limestone quarries in France, and exports 38 percent of its production, primarily to Europe, North America and the Asia-Pacific region.

Formica Sold To N.Z. Company

   CINCINNATIFletcher Building Ltd., a New Zealand materials and construction company, will buy Formica Corp. for $700 million
   Formica officials announced the deal on May 22 with a statement from their Cincinnati headquarters.
   Fletcher, based in Auckland, New Zealand, shows annual revenues of $4 billion. It bought Formica from private-equity investors Cerberus Capital Management L.P. and Oaktree Capital Management LLC.
   The equity investors may also offer deferred payments of up to $50 million; the two companies will also retain Formica’s South American operations and certain California real estate.
    “Our goal has been to establish an ownership structure that will allow us to build upon our success and continue to invest in and grow the business, and our people,” said Frank Riddick, Formica president/CEO. “Fletcher is ideally aligned with this objective due to its broad-based building material and construction business and experience in the laminate and decorative surface market.”
    “Formica is a recognized innovator in its industry, with an excellent track record of new product development and successful product introduction,” said Fletcher Building Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Ling. “We are confident that this acquisition will allow us to establish a truly global laminates platform, providing new opportunities for us in Asia and creating synergies across our manufacturing, sales and distribution networks.”   
   The transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and is expected to close early next month. Formica does not expect the new ownership to have a significant impact on day-to-day operations.
   Formica’s product line includes Formica® Stone, a quartz-surface material, and Formica Granite.