In a move to unite hard and soft surface manufacturers in eight countries the European De Clerck family says it will create the Beaulieu International Group, based in Waregem, Belgium. One of the key players, Roger De Clerck, is the founder of European textile maker Beaulieu, which branched out to become a dominant player in the international floor covering and home decoration industries.

Beaulieu International Group will "lead the way in making the first steps in the consolidation of the carpet industry in Europe, in the footsteps of what has been the successful consolidation of this industry in the U.S. some years ago," the company said in a statement. Plans call for the group to include laminate and hardwood floor makers Alloc and Berry Floor,

It is hoped that the new alliance will give members the ability to "control each stage of product from raw materials up to the finished product, enabling the Group to duly tackle mounting competition from abroad and thereby meet its self-stated goals and ambitions."

The management team will be headed by Christophe Deroose, ceo; Dirk Dees, coo; and Jose Nobels, legal and administration officer.

Beaulieu International Group plans locations in Belgium, France, Germany, the UK, Norway, Spain, China and the U.S., manufacturing a wide range of products including polymers, carpet fibers and yarns, soft and hard surface flooring and furniture upholstery.