Anne Gibson

Anne Gibson is the Property editor of the NZ Herald

Fletcher in running for top US investor prize

Fletcher Building chief executive and former Formica North America chief executive Mark Adamson Photo / Dean Purcell.
Fletcher Building chief executive and former Formica North America chief executive Mark Adamson Photo / Dean Purcell.

New Zealand's biggest listed company, Fletcher Building, is shortlisted for an American Chamber of Commerce award tonight for its Formica business in the United States and Canada.

The company is up for the investor of the year prize in the success and innovation awards which also lauds importers and exporters doing business with the United States.

A spokesman said Formica North America was turned around from June 2008 when Mark Adamson - now Fletcher's chief executive - implemented a management restructuring.

Adamson re-shaped the business, bringing costs down, increasing service levels and investing in innovation and process improvements, the spokesman said.

Net waste has more than halved since 2008 and health and safety performance has improved 75 per cent.

Gerry Bollman, Fletcher's chief executive of business strategy and performance, said the largest improvement in health and safety was at the Evendale, Ohio plant and injury rates at the business throughout North America are down more than 75 per cent.

The spokesman said dramatic improvements were made to other parts of the business too.

"Equipment effectiveness has increased greatly," he said and the amount of product produced per hour has increased by 50 per cent.

"Time taken to serve customers in the made-to-order or bespoke products has more than halved. That is the time taken from order to delivery. Cost to produce and deliver product has declined significantly since 2009," the spokesman said.

Earnings have risen since 2008 even though revenues have been reasonably flat revenues and volumes have been low.

Fletcher Building bought Formica Corporation in July 2007 for around $1 billion.

Formica has plants at Evendale, Ohio and in St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Quebec in Canada and employs about 900 people in North American, although it has offices around the world.

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