The plant will be built on 120 acres previously owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. In the first phase the manufacturing campus will design and produce 47 million square yards of fiberglass sheet vinyl for commercial and residential applications. The company expects to employ 350.
For Beaulieu International, also known as Beauflor in the states, the U.S. move is the latest in a series of bold international steps for the $2 billion company. Within the last two years it has acquired a textile company in Italy, launched operations in Russia and purchased a facility in Spain. The U.S. market was targeted as the next logical step, according to Steve Roan, sales and marketing director, North America, Beaulieu Flooring Solutions.
“The timing is right,” said Roan, who joined the company in April. “The U.S. economy is in recovery mode, and although it is not a robust recovery, it is a recovery and there are ample opportunities for growth here. The U.S. market is a key part of realizing our aggressive growth initiatives.”
Roan told FCNews the initial facility would be a cushion vinyl plant with 5-meter production capability. In Belgium, Beaulieu has developed products for residential and commercial applications in 2-, 3- and 4-meter widths in addition to 5 meters. “We are the only manufacturer with 5-meter capability,” he said. “This [move here] will allow us to manufacture and ship to our U.S. customers in a faster and more cost effective process.”
Beaulieu International is the latest company to announce manufacturing expansion in northwest Georgia, joining the likes of Shaw, Mohawk, Mannington, Engineered Floors and IVC.
For Roan, who has lived in the region since the mid-1980s, this move is personal. “It’s a big deal,” he said. “The opportunity to participate in an expansion like this and bring something to northwest Georgia was extremely attractive to me. This area has been very good to my family and me. These are very good people at Beaulieu International, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Beaulieu International Group, which has 3,500 employees in 26 plants and nine sales offices spread across 13 countries, is composed of three business units. Flooring Solutions is the European leader in wall-to-wall floor coverings (carpet, needle felt, cushion vinyl, LVT and wood). A second business unit, Granules, produces polypropylene granules for numerous applications. This division operates a plant in Louisiana that produces raw materials, including polypropylene granules. A third business unit, Engineered Products, houses the activities of fibers, yarns, technical textiles and technical sheets.
The group currently supplies products to the U.S. through a distribution center in Dalton and two third-party logistics companies, which heretofore stored product shipped from Belgium. However, Roan said those logistics companies are in the process of being consolidated into a single Dalton facility that will handle the logistics functions. That transition is expected to occur in August.
Beaulieu International Group said it uses advanced technology to produce cushion vinyl flooring and has invested heavily in the technical process to improve product benefits such as easy maintenance and greater sound absorption—as well as indoor air quality—by developing a top coat to ensure long-lasting protection.
One of its major points of emphasis is to control the sources of VOCs, for which the group has obtained certifications from Floorscore and other green leaders.
Beaulieu International Group is not to be confused with Beaulieu America. No business relationship exists between the two, although there are family ties.