Written by:
Luigi Di Geso
President and CEO, Mapei North America

Mapei Corporation is growing stronger in an unstable market having to come to terms with raw materials shortages and rising prices: sales in the states increased by 18% in 2022 compared to 2021.

Our growth in a turbulent market

Covid-19, raw material shortages, price increases — all of these issues have posed serious challenges for Mapei Corporation in the past few years. However, they have also provided us with the opportunity to learn quickly, to adjust rapidly, and to meet these challenges and to grow in a turbulent market - growing a strong 18% from 2021’s numbers. In fact, the net sales amount in 2022 for Mapei Corporation in the USA was over 856 million US dollars. Mapei subsidiaries in North America (USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico/ the Caribbean) totalled 1 billion US dollars in gross sales. 

This is a remarkable performance in contrast with the US economy. In Q4 2022, the American GDP grew by 2.9%, according to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). The growth of the U.S. economy in Q1 2023 is predicted to be an even slower continuation of the previous quarter as the effects of high inflation and high interest rates combine to have a chilling effect. In fact, according to the forecasting models at Bloomberg Economics, these interest rate increases have created a 72% increase in the risk of an economic recession by Q1 of 20242.

The U.S. Federal Reserve Board’s Federal Open Market Committee stated: “Inflation has eased somewhat but remains elevated. Russia’s war against Ukraine is causing tremendous human and economic hardship and is contributing to elevated global uncertainty. The Committee is highly attentive to inflation risks.”

The BEA further reports that “Within residential fixed investment, the leading contributors to the decrease [in GDP] were new single-family constructions.” That downturn for the construction industry is echoed in forecasts from most of the leading indicators, including ConstructConnect whose Spring 2023 Construction Starts Forecast states: “Total construction starts are expected to decline 4.8% in 2023.

But amid the caution, there is some room for hope.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released their report for 2022 on January 19, 2023. The report highlighted the fact that “Median weekly earnings of the nation's 118.8 million full-time wage and salary workers were 1,085 US dollars in the fourth quarter of 2022 (not seasonally adjusted). […] This was 7.4% higher than a year earlier, compared with a gain of 7.1% in the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) over the same period."
This is hopeful news, not only for the U.S. economy, but also for Mapei because, as you will see, while new housing starts may be down, remodelling of existing homes may be on the rise and an increase in earnings for full-time wage and salary workers may contribute to that factor. 
Covid-19, raw material shortages, price increases have posed serious challenges but they have also provided with the opportunity to meet these challenges and to grow - North America totalled 1 billion US dollars in gross sales. 

A wide product portfolio to seize all the opportunities

Mapei Corporation’s commercial business is still showing positive signs of growth. As remodelling becomes a more popular alternative to purchasing a new home, our commercial placement in popular home improvement stores will meet this need. 

The fact that our product is available at a “good, better, best” array of consumer price points, while being perceived as an industry leader is a helpful driver as well. All of this combines to help us maintain our position in the market as the No. 1 desired brand.

We are also very well integrated with the architectural community, which means that we should fare much better in those sectors of the construction business. Our data is now listed on Arcat, MasterSpec, and SpecLink, which means that now architects and specifying engineers can easily find the latest Mapei product information, including sustainability documentation and CADs from any device, including a mobile phone. This puts Mapei expertise at their fingertips no matter the specification app or the time of day.

Additionally, we are heavily involved in major infrastructure projects, which will be a continued driver for us in 2023. Our Admixtures for Concrete line will be debuting a new line of products that will combine innovation and sustainability, creating a renewed focus for the concrete admixtures segment of the industry. 

Our Underground Tunneling Team (UTT) is involved in several major projects now, keeping Mapei injection waterproofing materials and soil conditioning solutions active in the underground market. 

Our Concrete Restoration Systems are also actively involved in major projects ranging from Department of Transportation (DOT) initiatives to popular fast-food restaurant franchises. 

All these initiatives join our core business - the mortars and grouts - to keep us moving forward and growing despite the hesitant economic forecast. There are projects to be won and we have the staff, the products, and the commitment to win them.

Strength and growth 

We have grown in the face of this national “uncertainty,” staying steady and continuing to support our customers throughout North America. Our expansion encompasses the following facilities and production capabilities:

  • Atlanta (Calhoun), Georgia: This 210,000 sq. ft. (over 19,500 m2) production plant began operations in early 2022.
  • Houston, Texas: This is a 200,00 sq. ft. (18,580 m2) space that will feature both powder production as well as distribution for admixtures/grinding aids and raw material storage. The powder lines are scheduled to begin production in the spring of 2024.
  • Orlando (Wildwood), Florida: This location began operation as a warehouse and distribution center in 2018. We are adding 150,000 sq, ft. (14,000 m2) of warehouse and three lines to bring the total square footage to 260,000 sq. ft (24,000 m2). The Grand Opening of the new facility is slated for the spring of 2024.

Mapei Corporation has also grown with the introduction of new products that are “different” than the setting materials for which we are so well-known. Our Concrete Restoration Systems division recently launched PLANITOP 3D, mortar/ink used for printing large-scale construction projects. Our Admixtures division is launching the CUBE SYSTEM, combining sustainability and innovation for the concrete industry. To further this commitment to sustainability, we are also launching the RE-CON line of products, including RE-CON ZERO EVO which transforms returned concrete into a usable product. Our Tile & Stone Installation Systems division has launched the MAPELEVEL EASY line of accessories, which includes wedges, threaded spacers, and spinning or clickable caps.

All of this combines to create a company that is hopeful in the face of uncertainty and poised to meet future challenges with a comprehensive plan for growth. With focus and strong attention to detail, we will meet and surpass our goals. Therefore, this year, Mapei subsidiaries in North America (comprised of Mapei Corporation, Mapei INC., and Mapei Caribe) is committed to, and convinced that, we will attain our net 1 billion US dollar goal by the end of 2023. I am convinced that this goal is attainable. After all, in the words of the late Giorgio Squinzi, “at Mapei we never stop pedalling.”

*NOTE: As of publication, the economic data contained herein is accurate and up to date per the latest government information.
We have grown in the face of this national “uncertainty,” staying steady. Our expansion encompasses the facilities and production capabilities in Atlanta (Calhoun), Georgia, in Houston, Texas, and in Orlando (Wildwood), Florida.
Mapei production plants in USA
Mapei production plants in USA.

Greater commitment to social responsibility

During this time of hesitation, we are more than ever committed to our pillar of Social Engagement. Through our strategic partnership with Black Buffalo 3D (manufacturer of 3D printers) we have embarked on an effort to manufacture, via 3D printing with our PLANITOP 3D mortar/ink, homes for families who are economically challenged.

The system has been awarded ICC-ES AC509 certification, which means that walls constructed with PLANITOP 3D have been found to meet the same code requirements as traditional concrete walls. Large-scale 3D construction printers and ink/mortar are now poised to improve the way that the world faces challenges related to affordable housing, emergency shelters, and resilient infrastructure. This innovation provides a faster, more efficient, and more affordable approach to residential and commercial custom construction, putting affordable housing within the reach of more people. Currently we have projects in Virginia, and we have projects that are in early planning stages in Texas, and Oklahoma.

Our affiliation with the Gary Sinise Foundation has remained strong, throughout the Covid-19 shutdown and now with the shortages facing the building industry. The Foundation’s mission is to build smart homes using donated materials and to present them free-of-charge to the men and women who have been wounded in the service of our country. Although the numbers of homes built have declined in recent years, first due to Covid-19 and now due to building materials issues, the program has never stopped building homes. In 2022, we donated installing materials and systems for heating floors for six homes. 

Our commitment to social engagement is also deeply felt at the local level, across the USA, at each of our locations. In fact, in 2022, our West Chicago location raised 11,740.00 US dollars for the American Cancer Society by holding a walk in honour of National Breast Cancer month. This event was so successful that many other locations will be adopting this format this year.
During this time of hesitation, we are more than ever committed to Social Engagement. That's why we started to manufacture, via 3D printing with our PLANITOP 3D mortar/ink, homes for families who are economically challenged.
Written by:
Luigi Di Geso
President and CEO, Mapei North America
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