Go ahead, walk all over them -- Shaw Industries is one of the world's largest carpet manufacturers. The company offers woven and tufted broadloom carpet and rugs, as well as other flooring products including laminate, ceramic tile, and hardwood made by subsidiary Anderson Hardwood Floors. Its carpet brands include Cabin Crafts, Queen, Designweave, Philadelphia, and Sutton. The company also rolls out a line of filament fiber carpet and hardwood flooring containing recycled content. Shaw sells its residential lines to distributors and retailers in North America and abroad, and its commercial products directly to contractors through Shaw Contract Flooring. Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway owns the company.
Under the private equity's wing, Shaw is continuing to diversity its presence in the floor covering market. In spring 2010 it acquired certain assets of Virginia-based Stuart Flooring, a flooring/surface manufacturer and subsidiary of Tarkett, which is located in France. The deal builds upon a previous supply arrangement between Shaw and Stuart.
Shaw is also tapping the $1 billion commercial resilient flooring market via a partnership with LG Hausys, a South Korea-based building and decorative material company. Shaw assumes the role of sole North American distributor of commercial resilient flooring developed by LG Hausys. The partnership, which launches in mid-2010, aims to give competitors Armstrong, Mannington, as well as low-cost Asian manufacturers a run for their money in the US and Canada. While LG Hausys provides its expertise in research and development, Shaw contributes its distribution, sales, and marketing capabilities to the partnership.
Seeing the green in strategies for safer human and environmental health, Shaw teamed with DAK Americas, a supplier of resins, to form Clear Path Recycling in 2009. The joint venture, which opened the first phase of its Fayetteville, North Carolina facility in 2011, recycles post-consumer PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles. The companies intend to use the recycled PET material in their own polyester-based products. Shaw also took full control in 2007 of Evergreen Nylon Recycling, a 50-50 joint venture between Honeywell and DSM Chemicals North America. The plant is the Nation's only recycling facility designed to keep volumes of scrap carpet out of landfills. More than 50% of Shaw's commercial products are based on green chemistry and certified Cradle to Cradle.
The company's Spectra Sports division, which produces TerraSport sports turf and TerraSoft recreational surface brands (sold under Spectra Sports Surfaces) is capturing a significant share of the synthetic turf market. In mid-2010 Shaw inked a deal to supply 1.7 million square feet of synthetic turf to Chesterfield County, Virginia's SportsQuest complex, of which it is a commonwealth sponsor. The deal, valued at approximately $12 million, is the single largest synthetic-turf transaction on record. In 2009 Shaw purchased Sportexe Construction Services, a company that has surfaced the fields of such pro teams as the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers, and New Orleans Saints, as well as Major League Lacrosse and several colleges. Products are sold under the Shaw/Sportexe brand name.
Reduced market demand for its flooring products -- largely due to the housing slump and competition from China -- has forced Shaw to make plant closures. The company in 2010 closed a wood veneering mill in Maine, and Ringgold, Georgia, yarn plant in 2009. Earlier closures included Alabama mills in 2008. It slowed production at a Calhoun, Georgia facility in 2009. The following year the plant reopened and expanded operations. Shaw also earmarked $60 million earlier in 2008 to expand a Lexington, South Carolina plant over a five-year period. Once completed, the facility will manufacture polymer chips used to make nylon for carpet yarn. – less