For Beaulieu of America, red-carpet fashion is what's on the floor. Chances are you have had Beaulieu underfoot; the company is the largest carpet-only manufacturer in the world. Beaulieu rolls out a line of berber, commercial, and indoor/outdoor (nonwoven, turf) carpet. Through its dealers, carpets are distributed to home improvement chains, including The Home Depot and Lowe's Companies, and commercial contractors. The company's 30-some facilities operate in North America and Australia. Consumer brands include Bliss, Coronet, and Hollytex. The company produces commercial products under the FashionSmart label, in collaboration with Armstrong's lineup. The Beaulieu Group is controlled by the Bouckaert family.
The company targets growing demand by residential and commercial markets for eco-friendly products. Beaulieu's initiatives include purchasing renewable energy to power its plants, and incorporating recycled plastic bottles in its polyester (PET) fiber carpet through its Earthguard Fiber Technology. In response to consumer concerns about the health effects of carpet, Beaulieu introduced a lineup boasting antimicrobial technology, dubbed Silver Release, said to curb odor and stain causing bacteria. It, too, incorporates recycled plastic bottle-based fiber. According to the company, the line has set a record in retail display distribution -- up 30% over any other release in Beaulieu's 30-year history.
Carpet manufacturers are susceptible to the volatility of oil prices due to its use of products derived from crude oil such as nylon, polyester, and polypropylene fibers. With crude oil prices fluctuating 10% or more per year, manufacturers such as Beaulieu can be forced to pass along price increases to its customers. As an example, the company was forced to raise prices for its nylon and polyester products 5-7% in mid-2010.
In early 2011 Beaulieu announced plans to expand its manufacturing capacity in an attempt to be prepared for the eventual increase in demand. Not all of the news for Beaulieu has been rosy -- the company closed one of its carpet fiber plants in Royston, Georgia in late 2010. The facility, which produced spun yarn, was the victim of the industry's move toward bulked continuous filament (BCF).
Beaulieu of America founders and owners Carl Bouckaert and Mieke Hanssens (formerly known as Mieke Bouckaert) stepped down from the company's day-to-day operations in 2007 when Beaulieu pleaded guilty to tax fraud. In a global settlement, it agreed to pay over $32 million. – less