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Ibstock plc announce launch of ‘Ibstock Futures’

Brick slips

Initial £50 million investment in project to create UK’s first automated brick slip systems factory

CLAY and concrete building products manufacturers Ibstock plc have announced the launch of a new business unit for the Group – ‘Ibstock Futures’.

Ibstock Futures will allow the company to accelerate growth and diversify its revenue base by targeting fast-growing areas of the UK construction market.

The new business unit will focus specifically on the development of technologies, products, and solutions that are aligned to the two key trends shaping the construction sector: sustainability and the industrialization of construction processes.

The company believes the potential market for these technologies and systems is substantial and growing faster than the wider building products industry.

Headquartered at the company’s London i-studio, Ibstock Futures will allow the Group to develop a stronger presence in the fast-growing off-site and modular construction markets.

As demand grows for façade products and solutions for both new-build and re-cladding work, Ibstock Futures will develop new products suitable for a wide range of residential, commercial, and mixed-use applications.

As Ibstock Futures’ launch project, the Group is announcing plans to invest £50 million to create the UK’s first automated brick slip systems factory in Nostell, West Yorkshire.

Providing a durable, safe, and energy-efficient alternative to other cladding solutions, the UK market for brick slips is significant (annual volumes of around 120 million) and growing fast.

The addition of a significant brick slip capability will be highly complementary to the Group’s existing clay brick business and the investment will allow Ibstock to take a leadership position in the market, significantly increasing the company’s presence in the fast-growing mid- and high-rise construction sectors.

With a capacity for up to 60 million brick slips per annum, the factory will be constructed within the existing footprint of the Group’s Nostell facility, which operated as a brick factory until its closure in 2020.

The facility benefits from significant adjacent clay reserves and established infrastructure, and is well situated within the heartland of its anticipated key markets. The planning application process has commenced and construction on site is expected to start during the first quarter of 2022.

The new factory will manufacture a wide range of different brick slip types and associated systems, and will incorporate the latest manufacturing technology to deliver a significant reduction in carbon compared with both imported and domestically cut slips.

In combination with high-quality offset projects, this will result in Nostell producing a net-zero-carbon brick slip; thereby reflecting the Group’s commitment to environmental sustainability within its Sustainability Roadmap to 2025.

‘The launch of Ibstock Futures is an important strategic development for the Group,’ said Joe Hudson, Ibstock plc’s chief executive officer. ‘Our new business unit will directly address a number of exciting growth markets that complement our existing offer for conventional building methods as the focus on sustainability and the industrialization of construction processes gathers pace.

‘The initial £50 million investment in brick slip manufacturing capacity at Nostell, in West Yorkshire, will be a first for the UK and will enable us to take a leadership position in this fast-growing market.

‘Crucially, it will also be a beacon of manufacturing excellence and sustainability – we are all very excited at the prospect of producing a net-zero brick slip. We have made ambitious commitments on our Sustainability Roadmap to 2025 – and this announcement underpins our ambitions.

‘The Nostell plant is the first of a pipeline of growth initiatives we have in development for Ibstock Futures, and we are excited about the potential this new business has to accelerate growth in the years ahead.’

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