H.B. Fuller expands European business transformation plans

H.B. Fuller, active in the packaging, hygiene, paper converting, general assembly, woodworking, construction, and consumer businesses, will be making changes to support its growth and profitability strategy in the Europe, India, Middle East and Africa (EIMEA) operating segment.

H.B. Fuller Company announced on 31 May that it intends to make several organizational changes to support its growth and profitability strategy in the Europe, India, Middle East and Africa (EIMEA) operating segment. These specific plans support the segment’s commitment to improve EBITDA margin to 15% by the year 2015 while completing the integration of the Forbo business in the region.
Earlier this year, H.B. Fuller completed its planned acquisition of the industrial adhesives business of Forbo Group. As expected, the company has determined that there are sizable opportunities to eliminate duplication in manufacturing and redundant services in the combined businesses. H.B. Fuller has now completed its integration assessments in EIMEA, and the resulting plans include the intended closure of five manufacturing facilities and a net reduction of approximately 100 positions in sales, finance, customer service, and research and development. The plans are based on a thorough analysis of the company’s now-combined operations and are subject to Works Council and/or Trade Union consultations and other legal requirements.
This announcement follows the North America integration plan announcement on 19 April 2012. In addition, the company launched its integration plans for its Asia Pacific operating segment. The global integration plan is now mostly complete and communicated within 90 days of the completion of the acquisition.
H.B. Fuller also affirmed the company’s intention to make capital investments in the EIMEA segment of approximately USD 90 million over the next three years. The investments will enable consolidation, facilitate increased production capacity, support new technologies in the company’s European operations, and centralize finance shared services and customer service functions in Mindelo, Portugal, as previously announced. These actions will enable the operating segment to modernize and enhance plant processes and use resources and technology more efficiently.
“We have thoroughly examined every part of the now-combined EIMEA business, and I am confident that the organization we have designed will enable H.B. Fuller to achieve our profitable growth goals in EIMEA,” said Jim Owens, H.B. Fuller president and chief executive officer. “Streamlining our operations and investing where it makes sense will make the region more efficient and able to provide even better service to our customers.”
Overall, plans for investment and restructuring represent a net reduction of 370 positions. The facilities scheduled for closure are: Chatteris, United Kingdom; Pirmasens, Germany; and Vigo, Spain, as well as the previously announced closures planned for facilities in Borgolavezzaro, Italy, and Wels, Austria. These facility closures will be staggered over the next two years.
The company intends to file a Form 8-K with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that details the costs associated with these actions.