LOUDON, TN -- In just two years since it opened its U.S. production facilities, Del Conca USA, a subsidiary of Del Conca Group based in Italy, has put in motion plans to double its capacity of porcelain tile production from 32 to 65 million square feet per annum. Even with excellent early indicators, this increase is happening even faster than had been forecasted.
This important industry news was recently announced by Enzo Donald Mularoni, CEO of the Del Conca Group, at Coverings, the most important trade show for the tile and stone industry in North America. According to Mularoni, "We are proud to announce that our positive estimates when we opened our U.S. facilities were not wrong. To the contrary, there has been enough demand to double our production lines in just two years. This will equate to an increase in our capacity from 32 to 65 million square feet per year and new jobs for the community.
"We have already signed contracts with our suppliers and once again the technology will be entirely Italian -- making it a perfect combination of Italian and American talent," Mularoni went on to say.
The expansion, with work expected to begin during the second half of 2016 and production to start in early 2017, involves a further investment of $30 million, both for construction and the purchase of new Italian technology.
To date, the U.S. plant, located in Loudon, TN, covers 320,000 square feet, but during the course of 2016, will be expanded to encompass 430,000 square feet. This increase of production will also involve the hiring of additional local personnel. About 40 new employees, all from the U.S., will be hired for the new production lines, in addition to the 85 currently employed.
The installation of two new production lines will be advantageous to the market, not only by increasing production -- with the expansion of the range of sizes and styles manufactured -- but also in the improvement of services to the American clients, with faster deliveries, etc. The new facilities will be dedicated to the production of large formats and tiles of increased thickness, especially due2, thecollection for outdoor installations which is produced in a 20 mm thickness and has been very successful in the U.S., where porcelain stoneware is being discovered as a superior alternative to concrete and natural stone.
In 2015, the import of tiles from Italy to the U.S. increased by 9.3% in value and 12.8% in quantity with respect to the previous year. In monetary terms, tile imports from Italy are worth $572.8 million.The American market is showing clear signs of recovery and is becoming increasingly sophisticated with a greater demand for products of Italian design.
"This additional investment in the U.S., a truly strategic country for us, will allow us to increase our market share, making the entire group stronger," said Mularoni.