Illinois Brick becomes critical link in Brickworks vertical integration

Brickworks Ltd., the ambitious New South Wales, Australia operator building a North American platform from a 2018 deal for Pennsylvania’s Glen-Gery Corp., will strengthen its Great Lakes region clay and concrete unit production and distribution footprint by acquiring certain assets of Palos Hill, Ill.-based Southfield Corp. At the heart of the $51 million transaction are Illinois Brick Co. and six sister brands spanning 17 Illinois and Indiana showrooms or yards and shipping upward of 70 million clay brick annually. 

“We have enjoyed a strong relationship with IBC since our entrance into the U.S. market. We know the business well and are pleased to welcome its 225 staff to the Brickworks Group,” says Managing Director Lindsay Partridge. “Illinois and Indiana are two major states within our target market in the Midwest, and both have a strong heritage of brick construction. We currently lack a direct distribution presence in these states and as such this acquisition is a logical strategic fit. It will significantly increase the scale of our direct distribution network, increasing store count from 10 to 27.”

“Sales volume through the Illinois Brick network will underpin production volume at our Midwest plants, which have ample capacity to accommodate additional sales growth. These plants include Marseilles in Illinois, Adel and Sergeant Bluff in Iowa, Caledonia and Iberia in Ohio, and our manufactured stone plant in Kentucky. The outlook for the region is strong, with building activity expected to increase over the next five years, across both residential and non-residential segments. Recently announced government stimulus, including support for state and local infrastructure projects such as schools and universities, is also expected to boost construction activity in the region.”

“Southfield has been one of Glen-Gery’s largest distributors for many years,” adds Brickworks North America President Mark Ellenor. “Our two companies share the same values and passion for the brick industry and are focused on supporting the contemporary style needs of today’s architects, designers and home builders. It was time for these two great companies to come together.”

Since entering the North American market in 2018, he notes, Brickworks has acquired three major brick producers and is now one of the country’s largest masonry supply operators.

“As we continue on this growth journey, we are working to modernize our manufacturing plants, expand our offering of innovative, design-driven building products and are currently building our global flagship design studio on 5th Avenue in New York,” says Ellenor.

“The Brickworks and Glen-Gery culture are the perfect fit for Southfield. They are industry leaders with rich histories who share our customer-first service philosophy, [and] offer unlimited potential to grow the business and increase opportunities for all employees,” affirms Southfield CEO Alan Oremus.

The Southfield transaction is scheduled to close later this year. In addition to the Illinois Brick flagship, it includes Indiana Brick, Rose Brick, Edgewood Landscape Supply, Lafayette Masonry Supply and Kokomo Masonry and Landscape Supply locations. Along with a deep clay brick inventory of Glen-Gery and 14 other brands, the Southfield network offers concrete masonry, manufactured or natural stone veneer, plus companion building and hardscape products.

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