General Shale tops clay unit ranks in Meridian Brick play

Key clay and concrete masonry unit producer General Shale of Johnson City, Tenn. is on track to more than double its scope, acquiring Atlanta-based Meridian Brick in a $250 million transaction scheduled to close by mid-year.

As the top masonry solutions source in North America, Meridian Brick operates 20 plants and 27 distribution centers in the U.S. and Canada and has a payroll exceeding 1,000. Its portfolio of face or thin brick, block, stone, mortar, stucco and specialty items suits residential and commercial markets. The plants, yards and product offerings join 11 General Shale brick, stone and block operations in 10 states and provinces, plus 21 sales and 200 affiliated distributor locations.

“This announcement underscores General Shale’s commitment to providing customers with a robust offering of the most exceptional masonry products and service in the industry,” says CEO Charles Smith. “Meridian Brick has a solid reputation for providing quality products, building solutions and customer service. These attributes, combined with General Shale’s unparalleled track record for more than 90 years, will yield exciting opportunities for our newly expanded organization.”

Meridian Brick was formed from a 2016 merging of the Boral Brick and Forterra Brick businesses. It has operated as a partnership of Boral USA, Atlanta, and an affiliate of Lone Star Funds, the Dallas investor that launched Forterra Inc. from Hanson Pipe & Precast and Hanson Structural assets. The brick and precast concrete properties anchored Hanson Building Products, which the Lone Star affiliate acquired in 2015 from HeidelbergCement AG.

Black Lake is the newest addition to the Meridian Brick Michigan Collection.

The Meridian deal will propel General Shale toward $800 million in annual sales, double present volume. It especially broadens the producer’s plant and sales footprint in the Southeast; Ontario and Quebec, the largest brick-consuming areas in Canada; and, Texas, which represents 25 percent of U.S. brick consumption and is home to six Meridian production and five distribution sites.

General Shale parent, Weinerberger AG of Vienna, “Is committed to strengthening its position as an internationally diversified building materials group,” notes Smith. “As we grow, we will continue to invest in research and development to drive innovative masonry solutions for our valued customers.”

“This acquisition is our largest in 15 years and significantly increases the scale and breadth of our offering in North America, establishing our leadership in the region and building a strong foundation for growth,” adds Wienerberger CEO Heimo Scheuch. “Resource-efficient construction and renovation are becoming ever more important. With Meridian Brick, we can make an even more effective contribution with sustainable products for the building envelope. The goal of all our developments is to bring us closer to customers and partners to offer them complete systems solutions.”