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Frequently asked questions

Here you find answers to frequently asked questions about Wienerberger.

1. Who is Wienerberger?



Wienerberger is the only multinational producer of bricks, roof tiles, concrete pavers and pipe systems with a total of 200 production sites in 30 countries and activities in international export markets. We are the world’s largest producer of bricks and number one on the clay roof tile market in Europe. Furthermore, we hold leading positions in pipe systems in Europe and concrete pavers in Central- East Europe. Wienerberger had a market capitalization of € 1.9 billion at year-end 2016 and is listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange (WIE).



2. What are Wienerberger's products? What percentage of revenues does each product generate?



Wall: Clay blocks are used for load-bearing exterior and interior walls as well as for non-load-bearing partition walls or fill work. A wall made of clay blocks is normally not seen after completion because it is covered with plaster or paneling.

  • Wienerberger's clay block business is run under the brand POROTHERM (POROTON in Germany)
  • In FY 2016 the product group was responsible for 23% of Wienerberger's revenues.


Facade: Facing bricks are used in visible brick architecture: facades and interior walls are made from or covered with these bricks. The necessary functions of the load-bearing walls are provided by clay blocks or other building materials such as concrete or calcium silicate blocks.

  • Wienerberger's facing brick businessis run under the brand TERCA (General Shale in the USA)
  • In FY 2016 the product group was responsible for 23% of Wienerberger's revenues.


Roof: Clay roof tiles are used primarily to cover pitched roofs and flat sloped roofs. They not only provide sustainable protection for houses from the weather, but also represent an important design element for architects. Clay roof tiles are not only used in new construction, but also to a large extent in the renovation of existing buildings.

  • Wienerberger's clay roof tile business is run under the brands KORAMIC and Tondach Gleinstätten
  • In FY 2016 the product group was responsible for 19% of Wienerberger's revenues.


Surface: Pavers by Wienerberger are produced as clinkers made of clay or as concrete pavers and slabs. These materials are used by homeowners (for driveways, paths, terraces and garden design) as well as in public areas (sidewalks, open areas and pedestrian zones).

  • Wienerberger's paving business is run under the brands TERCA (clay) and SEMMELROCK (concrete)
  • In FY 2016 concrete pavers were responsible for 4% of Wienerberger's revenues (Pavers made of clay are included under facade products).


Pipe systems: The fields of application of pipe systems are infrastructure (especially drinking water and waste water supply), residential and non-residential (industrial, office and public buildings) construction.

  • Wienerberger's pipe system business is run under the brands Pipelife (plastic products) and Steinzeug (ceramic products).
  • In FY 2016 the product group was responsible for 32% of Wienerberger's revenues.



3. What segments does Wienerberger operate in? What percentage of revenues does each segment generate?



The reporting segments are the following (including information on the share of Group third party revenues 2016):

  • Clay Building Materials Western Europe: 40%
  • Clay Building Materials Eastern Europe: 17%
  • Pipes & Pavers Western Europe: 19%
  • Pipes & Pavers Eastern Europe: 14%
  • North America: 10%
  • Holding & Others: 0%



4. What is Wienerberger's growth path?



Founded in 1819 as an Austrian brick manufacturer, Wienerberger has developed over the past years into an international building materials group that combines Clay Building Materials and Pipes & Pavers businesses. Strategic milestones in the company’s geographic expansion, which began in the 1980s, include market entry in North America during 1999 and the expansion of roofing systems in Western Europe starting in 2003 as well as the full takeover of the plastic pipe producer Pipelife in 2012 and the majority takeover of the leading clay roof tile producer Tondach Gleinstätten in 2014. Today Wienerberger has a broad industrial base, high innovative strength and a strong corporate culture, and is well positioned to profit from a market recovery through organic growth.



5. Where is the strategic focus of Wienerberger?



Organic growth

As the innovation leader in our industry, we are continuously improving and further developing our products and system solutions for all fields of application. Key priorities of our development efforts include a sparing use of raw materials, experiments with new materials and more efficient production processes, as well as innovations in the fields of application of our products, their use and reuse.


Market proximity
The planning and implementation of construction projects is becoming more and more complex. We therefore take the individual needs of specific customer groups, stakeholders and decisionmakers into account by offering comprehensive advisory services and supporting projects from the design phase to execution.


Within the framework of our Digital Agenda, we are working on various projects and taking the lead in the digital transformation of our industry.


Industrial potential

Wienerberger operates a modern and efficient network of production sites in all its business units. Our strategic capacity reserves enable us to participate in market growth and generate a more than proportional increase in earnings, while keeping our maintenance capex at a level below depreciation.


Operational Excellence


In all our business units, we are continually achieving cost reductions through programs aimed at optimizing production processes and structures and networking along the value chain.


Growth investments and portfolio optimization


Growth investments comprise corporate acquisitions and takeovers of individual plants, as well as capacity extensions. They serve our strategic objectives of entering into new product segments and deepening our market penetration in existing fields of business.

On the basis of structured analyses of growth projects and the performance of our existing business units, we take decisions on investments and divestments in accordance with strict profitability targets.



6. What is the strategic focus in the Division Clay Building Materials Europe?



The Clay Building Materials Europe Division has a broad range of innovative products and system solutions, a modern industrial base with lean cost structures and an efficient plant network. However, construction activities in our core markets are still far below a normalized level and production capacities in our plants are therefore not fully utilized. This surplus capacity represents an organic growth potential once demand normalizes and will allow us to generate a sound increase in earnings. Since an increase in capacity utilization would only lead to a moderate rise in normal capex, we can also generate strong cash flows. In addition to organic growth, we evaluate new applications and selective acquisitions of companies and individual plants in order to improve our geographic market coverage and broaden our activities.
Our strategic medium-term planning for the realization of organic growth is focused on market orientation, product development and operational excellence. We want to design our customer relations as an ongoing dialogue in order to optimally adapt our building material solutions to the needs of our customers. Therefore, we focus on the individual needs of specific customer groups and provide comprehensive services, ranging from planning to the implementation of the construction project. In this context, we are increasingly focusing on the development of digital and mobile solutions to facilitate fast data and information exchange. Roof tiles, clay blocks and facing bricks are essential innovation drivers for energy efficient, sustainable and affordable building solutions. We have therefore set ourselves an internal target of reaching a share of innovative products in total revenues of 25% annually. Moreover, the continuous optimization of cost structures and measures for the improvement of processes and safety standards in our plants are focal points of our strategic activities.


7. What is the strategic focus in the Division Pipes & Pavers Europe?



The Pipes & Pavers Europe Division includes our business activities with Pipelife plastic pipes, Steinzeug-Keramo ceramic pipes and Semmelrock concrete pavers. The division’s product portfolio covers system solutions for building installations, fresh water supply, irrigation, wastewater and rainwater management, drainage, energy supply and data transfer as well as special products for industrial applications and pavers. Our focus for Pipes & Pavers lies, in particular, on the continuous development and innovation of the product portfolio. In addition to developments in our own Group research centers, we continuously evaluate value-creating acquisitions to expand our range of applications and improve our geographic market coverage.
Above-average growth is expected over the coming years, above all, in the areas of fresh water and wastewater management due to the renovation backlog in Western Europe and the planned increase in supply net- work coverage in Eastern Europe. The growing demand for electricity and the expansion of telecommunication networks will also lead to increased demand for cable and electrical installation pipes. In comparison with competing materials, the market shares of plastic pipes are growing steadily and outpacing the market.



8. What is the strategic focus in the Division North America?



In its North American brick business, Wienerberger has a modern, highly efficient plant network and operates its own sales centers. Housing starts in the USA have already doubled from the previous crisis low, but US residential construction is still roughly 25% below a normalized level, which we estimate at approx. 1.5 million housing starts. Our production capacity is sufficient to meet demand in a normalized market environment, which gives us the potential to benefit significantly from the progressive market recovery. Furthermore, we are examining value-creating transactions to complement our product portfolio, enter new regional markets in the USA and expand our market positions.
In our pipe business, which we operate from a base in Arkansas, we are focusing on products and solutions for water management and high-pressure applications for the oil and gas industry, where we are actively driving the substitution trend and promoting the use of plastic pipes.



9. What amount did Wienerberger invest in 2016?


Investments in the reporting year totaled € 181.1 million (2015: € 147.8 million). In addition to capital expenditure for plant extensions and acquisitions, the amount mainly includes normal capex. The Investments in the reporting year totaled € 181.1 million (2015: € 147.8 million). In addition to capital expenditure for plant extensions and acquisitions, the amount mainly includes normal capex. The distinction between growth capex and normal capex is based on whether or not an investment serves to explore new markets or product segments or to increase production capacities. Capital expenditure for maintenance, technological innovations or production facilities for premium products is recognized under normal capex. In 2016, growth capex included bolt-on acquisitions in the amount of € 17.5 million (2015: € 0) and extensions of plant capacities in the amount of € 26.3 million (2015: € 10.1 million). Normal capex amounted to € 137.3 million (2015: € 137.7 million), corresponding to 66 % of depreciation (2015: 68 %). A breakdown of total capital expenditure in the reporting year shows that the Clay Building Materials Europe Division accounted for 54 %, Pipes & Pavers Europe for 37 %, North America for 7 % and Holding & Others for 2 % of the total.


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