Mohawk Industries announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the IVC Group—which includes the company’s Dalton operations consisting of its U.S. headquarters, a sheet vinyl factory and a state-of-the-art luxury vinyl tile (LVT) plant that is coming online. Mohawk is acquiring IVC for approximately $1.2 billion through a combination of cash and equity, with the transaction expected to be completed around the end of the first quarter.

Concerning the purchase price, $130 million will be in Mohawk stock and the rest will be financed through new debt, which Mohawk officials say they are in “very good position” to handle.

During a conference call, Jeff Lorberbaum, Mohawk’s chairman and CEO, said the company had offered a 100% cash deal but Filip Balcaen, IVC’s founder, chairman and primary shareholder, “wanted to have some equity in the company and we felt having his knowledge and experience will be a benefit to us.”

Worldwide, IVC is a manufacturer of sheet vinyl, LVT and laminate, with operations in Europe and the United States and annual sales of approximately $700 million. During the conference call, Frank Boykin, Mohawk’s CFO, said IVC grew 15% in 2014, noting 50% of its sales are in sheet vinyl, 30% in laminate and 20% in LVT. He noted IVC’s U.S. operation, when complete, will have a capacity of $200 million a year.

Since its founding in 1997, Mohawk said IVC has grown rapidly based on a business model focused on low cost, state-of-the-art manufacturing combined with a broad product offering which is customized to meet individual channel and customer needs. IVC primarily distributes its products through large retailers, home centers and regional distributors and is focused on the residential sector. The company employs approximately 1,300 people around the globe.

While the IVC brand will be left intact Lorberbaum said the purchase is an “opportunity to expand IVC’s products into the Mohawk brand, especially on the commercial side. We expect IVC to complement our existing [resilient] offerings and help us expand our sales.

“There are many potential synergies between IVC and Mohawk in both Europe and the U.S.,” he added. “Our greatest opportunities are in LVT, which has increased globally around 18% in the past year. IVC is the fastest growing manufacturer of LVT in Europe, and its manufacturing expertise will help start up our new Belgian LVT factory faster. This new plant will allow IVC to further expand its European sales.”

In the U.S., he noted, “LVT now represents about 5% of the total flooring market, and sales are projected to grow more than 15% annually through the end of the decade. IVC’s new LVT plant in Dalton, will be one of the world’s largest, most efficient production lines with leading technology and will position us to meet the rapidly growing U.S. market.”

Lorberbaum added IVC’s sheet vinyl is constructed with a fiberglass core, and that this product type, like LVT, is among the fastest growing in the resilient area. In addition, the company estimates annual U.S. sheet vinyl sales to be $1 billion and it is an area in which prior to this transaction Mohawk was not a major player. “We feel the fiberglass segment will grow 6% to 8% and with the right mix of products it provides us with a good opportunity for growth and to take market share.”

The acquisition, he explained, “positions Mohawk as a major participant in both the fast growing LVT category and the expanding fiberglass sheet vinyl business. Mohawk continues to utilize its strong management and balance sheet to increase its participation in the worldwide flooring industry. Today, Mohawk has leading brands and market positions in all flooring types, including ceramic, carpet, laminate, wood, sheet vinyl, LVT, stone and rugs. The U.S. market remains Mohawk’s primary focus, comprising about 70% of our business, with expanding positions in Mexico, Europe, Russia, Asia and Australia.”

This purchase represents another major acquisition for Mohawk in recent years, including The Marazzi Group in Italy, Pergo in Germany and the Spano Group in Belgium, along with various manufacturing investments in the U.S., including new and expanded facilities.

“The U.S. flooring market is expected to grow faster over the next few years,” Lorberbaum concluded, “and we are well positioned to maximize our results. In Europe, our product offerings will satisfy all consumer preferences, positioning us well as the economic recovery gains traction. The IVC acquisition strengthens Mohawk’s position as a leading global flooring manufacturer and provides a platform for significant future growth.”

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