Mohawk Industries doesn't mind being trampled under foot. The company is the second-largest maker of commercial and residential carpets, rugs, and other floor coverings in the US (after Shaw Industries) and one of the largest carpet makers in the world. It produces a range of broadloom carpets and rugs under such names as Mohawk, Aladdin, Durkan, Karastan, Lees, and Bigelow. Mohawk's Dal-Tile International division is one of the US's largest makers of ceramic tile and stone flooring. Unilin's laminate and wood flooring, and other wood products round out Mohawk's operations. The company sells its wares to carpet retailers, home centers, mass merchandisers, department stores, and dealers.
Mohawk Industries generates around 80% of its revenues in North America. It has manufacturing facilities located in Georgia, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Mexico, and Belgium.
Once focused exclusively on carpets and rugs, Mohawk has evolved, adapting itself to changing customer tastes and spending habits. The company now offers popular alternatives to carpet such as hardwood, laminate, and ceramic tile. It has also reached outside of its premium-priced portfolio by rolling out a do-it-yourself flooring line that mimics the elegant look of materials like marble or limestone, without the coldness, chipping, or costly installation of real stone. Its breadth of operations is matched by its depth; Mohawk maintains a strong distribution and wide customer base (in addition to residential customers, it serves government, healthcare, and educational institutions, as well as corporate, retail, and public venues), which creates strong brand recognition.
Mohawk faces many obstacles, including the downturn in US home remodeling and new construction markets, as well as weak commercial real estate demand, at home and abroad. Revenue levels have declined over the last three years, but in 2011, total sales reached 5.4 billion, an increase of 6% compared to 2010. After suffering a $5-plus million net loss in 2009, the company posted $185 million and $174 million in net income for 2010 and 2011, respectively. The overall improvement was attributed to a higher sales volume of around $143 million coupled with favorable foreign exchange rates and lower operating expenses. Cash generated from operations enabled Mohawk to pay down debt and fuel working capital.
The company is looking to grow through acquisitions and joint ventures. After buying an Australian distribution business to add to its Unilin segment in 2011, the company acquired a 34% stake in a joint venture with China-based Sanfi Ceramics in 2010. The joint venture manufactures and distributes ceramic tile in that country, a region which industry insiders see as the largest ceramic tile market in the world, with growth forecast at 10% annually. Mohawk has also undertaken a series of restructuring initiatives aimed to optimize its manufacturing footprint and reduce its overhead costs, including its workforce.
Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Lorberbaum holds almost a 16% stake in Mohawk directly, and additional ownership through his interest in Aladdin Partners, which owns more than 12%. – less