Beaulieu International Group, not to be confused with Beaulieu of America, will establish its U.S. headquarters in Cartersville, Ga., and create 350 new jobs over five years.
The move announced this week could mean that after decades of operating on seperate continents, the two family businesses will begin to compete in the U.S. following the completion of the Cartersville plant.
The 120-acre site, previously owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev, will produce 47 million square yards of cushion vinyl for commercial and residential markets in the first phase, as part of a deal negotiated by Georgia's economic development team.
"We are experiencing growth across the globe for finished floorcoverings," said Geert Roelens, CEO of Beaulieu International Group. "Our new plant in Cartersville will significantly increase our production and enable us to better supply the U.S. market. We greatly appreciate the state and local authorities in Georgia who supported this project."
Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal personally traveled to Belgium to seal the investment, which he said has "huge implications" for the surrounding region.
"My recent economic development mission allowed for our state to strengthen relationships in the global marketplace, expanding Georgia's international presence and increasing opportunities for our economy to grow," Deal said.
There are a number of Beaulieu flooring companies in the world, all of which descend from the De Clerck family but some of which are operated separately, as they are owned by different descendents of founder Roger De Clerck.
Beaulieu Canada and sister company Beaulieu of America, based in Dalton, Ga. and helmed by Karel Vercruyssen, are owned by the Bouckaert family.
Belgium-based Beaulieu International Group, on the other hand, descends from the original creation of De Clerck in 1959, before he split the company among six descendants in 1991, saving a seventh portion for himself.
Though Beaulieu International Group, known informally as B.I.G., consolidated five of the seven companies in 2005, this marks its first foray into the U.S., where Beaulieu of America has traditionally carried the family torch.
Beaulieu International Group has 3,500 workers at 26 plants in 13 countries, and boasts more than $2 billion in annual revenue.
Beaulieu of America, the creation of Carl Bouckaert and Mieke Hanssens, employs about 4,300 workers at 15 plants and another 15 distribution facilities across the U.S., primarily concentrated in and around Northwest Georgia. The company sold an estimated $625 million worth of carpet in 2013, according to data collected by Floor Focus Magazine.
Though Beaulieu of America recently diversified from a carpet-only manufacturer into luxury vinyl tile, Beaulieu International Group will produce sheet vinyl at its U.S. plant, which is a different type of product.
Unlike Beaulieu of America which only recently began to produce luxury vinly tile in China, Beaulieu International Group already offers a complete portfolio of flooring products from carpet to wood, and produces its own raw materials, including polypropelene granules.
Contact staff writer Ellis Smith at 423-757-6315 or firstname.lastname@example.org with tips and documents.
Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...