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EP_19.jpg Sept/Oct 2005
Cover Story
Oregon Timber
Lafarge Group

With more than 100 years experience, Tarkett is today one of the world’s largest producers and distributors of resilient floorings.


05.jpg The merger of Tarkett with the flooring activities of Sommer-Allibert in 1997 saw the formation of Tarkett Sommer, a dedicated flooring company with an unrivalled pedigree. Operating from a headquarters in Frankenthal, Germany, Tarkett is recognised globally as one of the foremost players in the flooring industry. The organisation is amongst the leaders in the hardwood flooring (pre-finished parquet) sector and now produces 238 million square metres of floor and wall coverings every year. In total, Tarkett has approximately 7000 members of staff spread across 26 production centres in ten countries. Its presence in more than 50 countries around the world meant that in 2003 its turnover approached 1.4 billion euros.

In terms of its product offering, Tarkett focuses on resilient floorings (plastic floorings, linoleum), hardwood floorings (prefinished parquet) and a small segment of the textile flooring (needle-felt and tufting) market.

A re-structuring of the Tarkett Group in March 2004 saw the creation of two global divisions within the business – Commercial and Residential. This new operative structure of the worldwide business was the logical consequence of the international orientation of the Group that was introduced with the adoption of the Tarkett name and the related implementation of a global marketing strategy. The global standing of the organisation in the Commercial and Residential divisions bundles the strengths of the Group, brings synergy effects and, in this way, substantially supports Tarkett’s growth strategy for the world markets.

The larger division, Tarkett Residential concentrates on the private end consumer who expects a product that is easy to install and maintain while, at the same time, being modern and trendy. Therefore, the ability to quickly react to changing consumer demands requires permanent innovation and speed. As a manufacturer Tarkett offers new and high quality products which ensure added value for the customer and, thus, generate a certain buying incentive, while at the same time providing the trade with new arguments regarding selling and benefits.

In accordance with the product groups, the business unit's flooring operations are divided into four business centres: Resilient Floors, Hardwood Floors, Laminate Floors and Textile Floors. The floorings for the residential sector are produced in Tarkett’s plants in Clervaux/Wiltz (Luxemburg), Konz (Germany), Hanaskog, Broby, Nasüm, Ljusne (Sweden), Orzechowo (Poland), Joinville, Baisieux (France), Berriozar-Pamplona (Spain) and Anshan (China).

In 2003 Tarkett Residential achieved a turnover of 820.9 million euros. With its comprehensive product range, the business unit sees itself well prepared to meet the market requirements and all customer demands. Tarkett Commercial on the other hand, which saw a turnover of 573.5 million euros in 2003, has a function-oriented structure and enters the market as a homogeneous unit according to the requirements of the commercial market, where builders and contractors as end consumers are first in the distribution chain. Architects and specifiers, both intermediaries, have the task of specifying the desired floor covering through the tendering system. The products are sold by flooring contractors or distributors, or by wholesale companies for smaller projects.

From its position as a multi-specialist in the flooring industry, the organisation is keen to appropriately position the Tarkett Commercial brand and establish this relatively new division within the sector. The professional customer from the construction and real-estate sector should be able to easily identify the brand name in all price segments through its technically advanced, permanently innovative and easy-to-install product range.

Tarkett supplies not only floorings but also complete solutions and services concerning the products: consulting, installation, use, maintenance and disposal. This customer service should be further improved in the future via the company’s fast-evolving e-commerce operations. Especially for architects who have to deal with a lot of different products the internet has turned out to be an enormous help in their work and Tarkett is therefore keen to provide a similarly comprehensive service in this area.

Resilient heterogeneous and homogeneous floorings, linoleum floorings, highly filled VCT tiles and textile floorings for the commercial sector in Europe are produced in Tarkett’s plants in Sedan, St. Rambert, Auchel (France), Narni (Italy) and Ronneby (Sweden). This business unit will aim to further exploit its development potential in all product segments and further consolidate its leading position in all its markets.

Upon restructuring in 2004, Tarkett’s North American business unit was integrated into the organisation’s two new global divisions. Despite this, in line with Tarkett’s worldwide strategy, North America has a major and extremely important role to play within the Group going forward.

In addition to this, Eastern Europe will represent a significant area of growth for Tarkett in the future. In recent times this part of the business has expanded to represent ten per cent of the Group’s total sales and Tarkett has further consolidated its leading market position in the East European markets, especially in Russia and the Ukraine, under the two brands Tarkett and Sinteros.

Dragan Zarkovic, CEO of Tarkett Eastern Europe, comments: “We are committed to the chosen mission to develop, design and manufacture floorings of top quality, leading style and design in order to meet the most sophisticated needs of our customers in the residential and commercial areas... Mutual confidence, transparent relations and good communication with our customers will be reinforced with a long-term, win-win strategy of loyal partners in order to increase business and profit. By respecting the interests of our clients we will make the Tarkett and Sinteros brands a recognisable expression of loyalty and confidence.”

In all, Tarkett's organisation covers three geographical areas: Western Europe and Asia, Eastern Europe and North America. In each area, Tarkett Commercial and Residential are allocated specific means and structures to respond to their client's specific needs.

As a worldwide company, Tarkett has to adapt to each market where it is present, taking specific needs, habits, style and distribution structures into consideration. Its various brand names are highly recognisable across its different markets: Sommer in Western Europe Residential, Sinteros in Eastern Europe Residential. For North America Domco, Nafco and Azrock Residential and Commercial will continue to contribute in the future to the growth of the group.

Looking to the future, Tarkett is aiming to significantly build on its global position and is hoping to achieve a situation where it has a presence in all the major growth markets of the world. The Group’s strategic core markets are the USA and, above all, the whole of Europe, concentrating in particular on Germany, France, Benelux, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. The aim is to provide comprehensive coverage of the entire marketplace and more intensive vertical penetration in its main markets. In terms of its product offering, Tarkett is keen that its concentration on hardwood floorings, resilient floorings, laminate and linoleum won’t exclude the possibility of diversification into the field of hard floorings in the future.

Last year’s restructuring is clearly paying off with Tarkett’s recently announced figures for the first half of 2005 showing substantial growth. Over this period Tarkett AG achieved sales amounting to 764.4 million euros compared to 708.7 million euros in the same period of 2004.

Tarkett believes there are three key reasons for this impressive continued growth - its international presence, continual innovation and high productivity – factors that will ensure its prosperity for many years to come.  CT-E

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