Continental Building Products Inc   (CBPX)
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Continental Building Products Inc

Business Description

We are a leading, high margin manufacturer of gypsum wallboard and complementary finishing products. Our manufacturing facilities and sales efforts are concentrated in the eastern United States and eastern Canada. Gypsum wallboard is a primary building material used in new residential and commercial construction and repair and remodel ("R&R").

We sell our products in the new residential, R&R and commercial construction markets. Traditionally, the new residential construction market has been the most significant contributor to wallboard industry demand. It has also been the most volatile. During the most recent economic downturn, new residential construction contracted sharply, but has rebounded in recent years as the economy continues its expansion. R&R activity was also affected by the last recession but has also recovered with the broader economy. We believe that R&R construction will remain an important source of demand as existing U.S. housing stock ages and properties that were foreclosed during the downturn are rehabilitated. The commercial construction market encompasses areas such as office, retail, healthcare, hospitality and government building projects.

The North American gypsum wallboard industry is the largest in the world, with the world’s highest per capita consumption rate. Gypsum wallboard is a low-cost, widely used building product for interior and exterior walls and ceilings in residential and commercial structures. It is highly regarded for its ease and speed of application and its superior performance in providing comfort, fire resistance and thermal and sound insulation. The primary raw material, gypsum, can be either natural or synthetic. Natural gypsum is a mineral mined in select areas throughout North America. Synthetic gypsum is sourced primarily via flue gas desulfurization within coal-fired power plants.

New housing starts have been the most significant driver of North American wallboard demand. Starting in 2007, the North American wallboard industry suffered a dramatic decrease in demand, driven primarily by the significant downturn of the North American housing market and the associated credit crisis and global recession.

Lafarge founded its U.S. wallboard business in 1996 when it acquired two manufacturing facilities, including our Buchanan plant, from Georgia-Pacific. During the period from 2000 to 2010, Lafarge expanded its geographic footprint through acquisitions and the greenfield development of our Palatka and Silver Grove plants. During this period, Lafarge pursued a strategy of servicing customers from newer and more efficient plants by shuttering less efficient plants, investing in new facilities and modernizing existing facilities. These efforts culminated with the upgrade of the Buchanan plant in 2006 and the opening of the second production line at the Silver Grove plant in 2007, which we believe made the facility the largest in North America. These investments transformed Lafarge’s gypsum division from a regional player in the northeast to a leading competitor across the eastern United States.

We operate highly efficient and automated manufacturing facilities in Silver Grove (Kentucky), Palatka (Florida) and Buchanan (New York) that produce a full range of gypsum wallboard products for our diversified customer base. We are committed to operational excellence and have invested heavily in our facilities, which we believe are among the newest, largest and most efficient wallboard plants in North America.

Gypsum wallboard is manufactured by mixing finely ground, partially dehydrated, or calcined, gypsum with water and forming the resulting slurry between two layers of continuous paperboard liner. It is allowed to harden briefly before being dried and cut to specification.

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