The iron curtain came down. The world opened up and the Saint-Gobain Insulation division started to expand into Eastern Europe where insulation requirements are huge. The first markets affected were Poland (creation of Gullfiber Polska) and the Baltic countries (opening of offices in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia).
Signature on 16th March of the Kyoto protocol in Japan. The world became aware of climate change and of its predictable consequences if nothing is done to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Building insulation, which would save millions of barrels of oil each year, became a global issue.
Globalisation became reality, as noted by Saint-Gobain ISOVER. All the insulation subsidiaries henceforth bore the same name and shared the same yellow logo with its characteristic O, revealed in late 1999 to the Batimat show in Paris. ISOVER became a global brand.
Since 1986, Saint-Gobain research has tried to make high temperature-resistant fibre out of rock or glass with the TEL process: an indispensable breakthrough for naval and industrial applications. In 2004, the new generation of ULTIMATE glasswool was launched. Since, it has met with tremendous acclaim and won several awards.
Saint-Gobain acquired the British Plaster Board (BPB) group, the world leader in plaster boards and plaster, the European leader in expanded polystyrene for the construction industry. Both activities (insulation and gypsum) are complementary, both in terms of product and location. The largest group working in housing and interior installations was born.
Saint Gobain Isover revealed the “Multi-Comfort Home” concept. Combining optimal thermal insulation, insulating windows, heat recovery and renewable energy sources, this house is cool in the summer and warm in the winter and protected from noise all year long, consuming no more energy than it produces.
BPB polystyrene was integrated into the insulation activity. Development in emerging countries continued with three major acquisitions in Turkey, South Africa and Colombia. Saint-Gobain Isover celebrated the 50th anniversary of the industrialisation of the TEL process. ISOVER companies in France and Switzerland celebrated their 70th anniversary. Construction work on a new glasswool plant in France (in Chemilé in Maine et Loire) started.
Saint Gobain ISOVER acquired MAG, the Japanese leader in glasswool and revealed its new visual identity: new house style, new colour (green joins the yellow and black), new packaging. The first Danish passive houses made with Saint-Gobain ISOVER were inaugurated.
G3, insulation with a triple guarantee
In France, ISOVER started the production of “G3”, a new generation of glass wool insulation products. Manufactured with a new binder, the products emit fewer volatile organic compounds (VOC). G3 products have a reduced environmental footprint. High performing, better for the environment and better for the indoor comfort: that’s the triple guarantee.
New glass wool plant in France
For the first time in 35 years, Saint-Gobain opened a new plant in France, in Chemillé, to manufacture glass wool. The first ISOVER rolls came off the line in April. This entity has been designed to comply with the HQE (High quality environmental) standard, earning it second place in the 2009 French Grand Prize for Engineering. This third French glass wool plant exclusively manufactures the new generation G3 glass wool that provides one of the market’s best thermal performances, and improved environmental outcomes.
A boost in Japan
By acquiring the 43.7 percent stake owned by the Japanese group Taiheiyo Cement Corporation in the company MAG, Saint-Gobain increased up to 87.3-percent its interest in MAG, the leading glass wool manufacturer in Japan.
Multi-Comfort House in Beaucouzé (France)
The Saint-Gobain Multi-Comfort, low-consumption, positive-energy house was opened in July in Beaucouzé. Sixteen Group brands including ISOVER pooled their expertise to build this efficient, environmentally friendly and comfortable house, that personifies tomorrow’s habitat accessible today. The Saint-Gobain Multi-Comfort House generates more energy (61 kWh/sq.m./year) than it consumes (39 kWh/sq.m./year).
Acquisition in Russia
Saint-Gobain acquired Linerock, the Ural region's leading manufacturer of stone wool products, based in Tcheliabinsk. The company employs over 500 people and reported consolidated revenues of around Euro25 million in 2010.
Saint-Gobain ISOVER Orange plant celebrated its 40 years.
Saint-Gobain ISOVER acquired Celotex Group Limited, one of the leading British producers of high performance insulating foam.