Knauf France chooses the port of Fos for its new plasterboard factory

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Knauf France chooses the port of Fos for its new plasterboard factory
Christine Muscat, CEO Knauf France
08 October 2020 / Eco-industries, Grow your business, invest in provence

An investment of 60M€ and 70 jobs created

The Knauf and F-Scott family groups are preparing to invest €60 million in the construction of a plasterboard manufacturing plant in the port of Fos-sur-Mer, to be commissioned in 2022. This strategic decision is in line with the groups' ambitions to reduce their carbon footprint while significantly increasing French plasterboard production capacities. In its support of this rapidly expanding market, the project has enjoyed assistance from local communities and private stakeholders. It's an encouraging boost amid a context of economic revival. Construction work begins in October 2020...

With gypsum imported by sea and plasterboard shipments arriving by rail and river, Fos-sur-Mer was a natural choice in 2020 for the German group. Here, Knauf will build its second French plasterboard factory – its eighty-fifth worldwide. Covering an area of 20,000 m2, the site will have an annual production capacity of 30 million m2, and is intended to supply the South of France area as far as the Rhône-Alpes region.

€60 million in investment and 70 new jobs

This industrial project will be accompanied by the creation of 70 local jobs and additional maritime traffic estimated at 300,000 tonnes of gypsum per year imported from Spain and Morocco. "Our Seine-et-Marne plant was no longer sufficient in view of the expansion of the market; we required additional capacity to support our customers' growth. For its part, BMG Holding France was already working on this Fos project. The F-Scott group subsidiary assigned to the construction of this factory had already carried out all the preliminary administrative procedures. This summer, we decided to pool our ambitions. The spirit of our partnership lies in the fact that we have local roots close to our markets," explains Christine Muscat, CEO of Knauf France. BMG Holding France has signed a construction lease with the Grand Port Maritime de Marseille for the occupancy of 6 hectares at the Le Caban site. This is familiar territory for the F-Scott parent company which, in 2006, jointly developed a clinker grinding site with Cap Vracs for cement production.

Multimodal hub

A dedicated project team brings together Knauf's engineering skills and F-Scott's expertise in shipping and familiarity with port environments. "This dock provides us with access to a multimodal hub. We will be able to access the rail network and make use of the river to serve the hinterland as far as the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region. The aim is to minimize the journey component," explains F-Scott representative Loïc Leloup. "This factory will benefit from the latest-generation equipment to increase our environmental efficiency, and also incorporate recycled materials."

At a time when industrial sectors are being redeployed in France and the France Relance government plan is being introduced, combined with assistance to households in making energy improvements to their homes, this new factory has received a very warm local welcome. Thanks to the Provence Promotion economic development agency, the project has obtained regional development support from Total. The oil group has allocated a budget of €200,000 for the jobs thus created. The Sud region will also grant a subsidy via its Région Sud Attractivité scheme. "It is a mark of recognition, and a sign of confidence in the future," add Muscat and Leloup. Knauf France has a turnover of €500 million, and employs 800 people.

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