Industry Insights
January 1st, 2004

Jan-Feb 2004


Compagnie de Saint-Gobain has agreed to sell its Saint Gobain Terreal to a financial company controlled by the Carlyle Investment Fund. Terreal, a terra cotta and brick manufacturer, is a major player in the French tile market. The Terreal Group was establishjed with the merger of Guiraud, Tuiles Lambert, and Tuiles de Briques de France. The group totaled 328 million euro sales in 2002. Terreal operates in Italy under its San Marso Laterizi brand, in Spain through Saint-Gobain Terreal Espana (formerly Ceramica del Ter), in the United States through Ludowici, and in Malaysia.

The company has more than 2,000 employees at 22 tile and brick production sites, including more than 1,500 employees at 14 sites in France. Saint-Gobain’s choice of Carlyle to support Terreal will enable Terreal to ensure longterm development without the need for funding from the Saint-Gobain Group.


Laticrete International, the largest employer in Bethany, Connecticut, supported that community’s annual 5K Road Race and Fun Run sponsored by the Parks and Recreation Department. This year’s race attracted nearly 100 adult runners and 17 youth participants. Race proceeds were earmarked for the construction of a community playground in Bethany. “It’s events like this that bring out the true community spirit in everyone,” said Kathleen Scranton, Marketing Manager at Laticrete International. “We’re pleased to participate in local events.”


Tile Partners for Humanity (TPFH), a nonprofit partnership between the tile industry and Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI), recently announced the formation of its board of directors.

TPFH provides donated tile products, installation labor and other support to HFHI, an international nonprofit working to eliminate substandard housing around the world. Industry partners have participated in large- and small-scale projects with HFHI, including the Jimmy Carter Work Project in LaGrange and Valdosta, Ga., in June 2003 and a number of single-home projects across the country.

TPFH pledged, on behalf of the industry, to provide Habitat with $250,000 worth of materials and labor per year for a minimum pledge of $1,250,000 over five years.

The TPFH board includes Rick Church, Executive Director of the Ceramic Tile Distributors Association; Bob Daniels, President of the Board of the Ceramic Tile Education Foundation; Gray LaFortune, Executive Director of the Ceramic Tile Institute of America; Bart Bettiga, Executive Director of the National Tile Contractors Association; Curt Rapp, CEO of The Tile; and Eric Astrachan, Deputy Executive Director of the Tile Council of America.

Rapp, who co-founded TPFH with LaFortune, was elected to serve as chairman of the board. Bettiga will serve as vice chairman and Astrachan will serve as secretary/treasurer.

The board will work to raise awareness within the industry of TPFH and the value of participating in TPFH/Habitat projects. Members will also help solicit donations of materials, labor and funding for projects and continued operations.

“As chairman, I believe it’s important to acknowledge that our board is made up of a dynamic group of people within our industry, who, along with the organizations they represent, will represent our industry’s support for this notable cause,” Rapp said. “We are delighted they chose to become involved with TPFH and look forward to their participation in TPFH projects.”

Church recognized the role and contribution of CTDA in the organization. “CTDA has decided to participate on the board of TPFH for many reasons. Most importantly, though, is that it helps us achieve two missions: one, to work toward the elimination of poverty housing in the United States and two, to promote and grow the consumption of ceramic tile and related products in the United States. We look forward to seeing many smiling faces of new homeowners as they walk into their newly-tiled homes. We hope that some of those people will consider the tile industry as a professional career.”

TPFH solicits donations of tile, installation materials, installation labor, tile tools, tile cleaners, and other support for Habitat projects. Typically, TPFH provides floor tile for the kitchen/dining area, entryway, and bathrooms in a Habitat home. Partners have helped to tile 50 homes this year.

There are more than 1,700 active Habitat affiliates in North America with a singular goal to build 100,000 homes by 2005, and ceramic tile plays an important role in this initiative by providing simple, decent homes built with lasting quality. Habitat also builds in 89 countries worldwide. For more information on TPFH or the benefits of donating materials, please visit the website at


Coverings, the preeminent showcase for ceramic tile and natural stone floor coverings, is calling for entries to the 2004 Spectrum Awards honoring outstanding achievements in ceramic tile design. The $10,000 grand prize will be awarded at the opening General Session at Coverings 2004, slated to be held at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando from March 23 – March 26, 2004.

The 2004 Spectrum Awards competition is open to architects and other design professionals whose projects demonstrate creativity and achievement in the use of tile in residential and commercial design. The deadline for entries is 5:00 p.m. on February 27, 2004, and the projects must have been completed within the last two years (January 2002-December 2003) to be considered. Entries must include a binder with an official entry form, a typed project description, high-quality photographs of the entry and an identification of the submission. Entry forms and materials can be found on

The Ceramic Tile Distributors Association (CTDA) and the National Tile Contractors Association (NTCA) are coordinating the 2004 Spectrum Awards competition. An independent panel of judges organized by the CTDA and NTCA will evaluate entries based on creativity in design and excellence in implementation.

“The 2004 Spectrum Awards will feature the best in ceramic tile designs that the world has to offer,” says Tamara Christian, Coverings’ show director and president of National Trade Productions. “We are seeing a surge of interest in ceramic tile and mosaic design from everyone from professional designers, architects and artists to homeowners engaged in remodeling. We’re looking forward to not only displaying beautiful designs but to providing ideas on how to use these striking resources,” Christian adds. (; 703.683.8500)


The Marble Institute of America (MIA) will serve as a co-sponsor of Coverings 2004. As co-sponsor, MIA is responsible for developing educational sessions related to the stone industry that will be part of the Coverings conference program. MIA also will assist in the administration of the Prism 2004 Stone in Architecture awards, Coverings’ annual competition that honors originality and creative excellence in the use of natural stone products in residential and commercialprojects.

In addition to MIA’s co-sponsorship of the 2004 show, Coverings will sponsor a series of instructional CDROMs developed by MIA. These CDROMs are designed to expand and increase the level of competency in the fabrication and installation of natural stone. “We are very pleased to have been asked to be a co-sponsor of Coverings,” says Garis F. Distelhorst, executive vice president of MIA. “We look forward to providing a high level of educational programming for the show and to strengthening the awards competition by opening it up to architects who use natural stone to enhance the beauty and value of their projects.”

Headquartered in Cleveland, Ohio, MIA was founded in 1944 and is the leading resource for information and education in the natural stone industry. MIA members, numbering nearly 1,000 worldwide, include marble, granite, limestone, sandstone, and other natural stone producers and quarries, fabricators, installers, distributors and contractors.

In addition to MIA, the co-sponsors of Coverings include the American Institute of Architects (Orlando Chapter), the Associazione Italiana Marmomacchine, The American Society of Interior Designers (North Florida Chapter and Florida South Chapter), the Construction Specifications Institute (Greater Orlando Chapter), International Interior Design Association (Florida Chapter), the Terrazzo Tile and Marble Association of Canada, the Tile Contractors’ Association of America, and the Tile Heritage Foundation.

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