Xella International GmbH has purchased the Hebel autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) plant in Adel, Ga., incorporating it and another recently acquired
Xella International GmbH has purchased the Hebel autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) plant in Adel, Ga., incorporating it and another recently acquired AAC producer, Contec Mexicana of Monterrey, as Xella North America, based in Atlanta.
The Adel plant offers opportunity for making quick inroads into the Southeast [and] allows us to push ahead our North American expansion within a short time span, says Claus Niehaus, chairman of Xella Intl. management. Aircrete is not yet widely used in the U.S. However, given that Hebel products are absolutely competitive with other wall and ceiling materials, we foresee good prospects.
The Hebel process uses a mix of cement, extremely fine sand, aluminum-based expanding agents and water; high temperature autoclaved curing yields a product that is about 80 percent air and one-fifth the weight of conventional concrete. With $20 million-plus backing from German investors, the Adel plant opened in 1995 and has a 250,000 cubic metre annual capacity. It will produce blocks and large-sized Hebel components used in perimeter walls and interior separation walls of commercial and industrial facilities, plus panels for residential use. The rebranded Contec Mexicana plant, which Xella Intl. tagged in April, has an annual capacity of 300,000 cubic metres of aircrete. About 10 percent of its output is shipped to Texas, where it has a sales office.
Based in Duisberg, Germany, Xella Intl. cites a number one global position in AAC or aircrete (Hebel and Ytong brands) and calcium silicate (Silka) block. A division of the Haniel Group, it also produces gypsum fiberboard (Fermacell), fire protection board (Aestuver), and mineral insulation board (Multipor), and through its Fels Group business, is a leading lime and limestone supplier in Europe. Xella was formed with a consolidation of German businesses, including Munich-based Ytong, which along with Hebel dominates the European market, where AAC building products have been commonplace for decades. Pursuit of a North American foothold followed the company’s sale of concrete anchoring specialist, Halfen GmbH & Co., to Ireland’s CRH Plc earlier this year. That deal coincided with CRH/Oldcastle’s acquisition of Houston-based MMI Products, whose Meadow Burke division represents Halfen in North America.