An industry leader with the clout to reshape the geosynthetics industry
11 February, 2019 – Montreal. Solmax-GSE, now the world’s leading geosynthetics company, will henceforth be known as Solmax. The return to the Solmax name and brand follows the successful integration of the Solmax and GSE Environmental businesses to form a single strong global entity—one that will reshape the industry, says the company.
“Solmax is a name that reflects our new identity as the global leader within the geosynthetics industry,” says Jean-Louis Vangeluwe, President and CEO of Solmax. “It combines two well-structured businesses with similar cultures, an abundance of talent and knowhow, and a shared mission: to help protect the planet, our immense wealth of water, soil and air, creating value for people and nature.”
Solmax’s December 2017 move to acquire GSE Environmental was strategic and challenging, but driven by a clear vision. “Our goal is to create a strong industry leader in this sector with the strength, reach, capacity and talent to reshape the geosynthetics industry,” says Vangeluwe. “With the successful conclusion of our first year of integration, we are well positioned to achieve that vision.”
Solmax embodies the best of both companies.
Solmax and GSE have a proud pedigree. Jacques Côté founded Solmax in 1981 and, with the help of Vangeluwe, who joined in 1997, grew the business from distribution to installation and manufacture of geotextile and erosion control systems. By 2017, Solmax was rated number three in the geosynthetics industry. GSE's origins can be traced back to Schlegel Lining Technology and Gundle Lining Systems, which pioneered the first high-density polyethylene product in 1972. Over the next four decades, the company evolved into GSE and became a global industry leader. In 2017, it was acquired by Solmax.
The integration process is rigorous, and it’s ongoing. “In joining forces, we have to balance the cultures, talent, know-how, and systems of two large companies. This first integration phase has been achieved relatively quickly. It has allowed us to discuss, evaluate and start integrating knowledge, objectives and skills. The benefits are significant,” says Vangeluwe.
The integration of the two businesses extends the global reach of the company, it positions Solmax advantageously within the value chain, and gives it the resources and agility to drive research and development, and quickly commercialize and scale new innovations, products and services.
“Solmax now has an extended manufacturing presence in North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East; better access to raw materials; and the industry clout to help raise standards and drive innovation to meet more stringent environmental requirements,” Vangeluwe notes.
Internally, Solmax is very focused on supporting fresh thinking, innovation and the growth of its people. The company also aims to drive change across industry ecosystems.
“The reality is that there is no stopping human endeavor – industry, mining and human activity negatively impact our natural environment and create waste products that are harmful,” says Vangeluwe. “Solmax’s mission is to continuously innovate, creating state-of-the-art products and services that can help protect the earth—products that are highly resistant to contaminants, reliable, accessible in price to all countries, even developing countries, and meet stringent regulations.
“We want to shake the industry up. Get everyone thinking this way.
“What we want to be able to say to our customers is ‘aim for the sky; we’ve got the ground covered’, but it’s not something Solmax can do alone – it requires collective action by all stakeholders, from geosynthetics players to governments, supply chain partners and our customers in mining, energy, civil engineering, water and waste management .”
The company’s next step is to reposition the new Solmax brand across all its territories. The transition will take into consideration the needs of Solmax’s employees and its customers in specific geographies.
While it’s early days, Solmax is already seeing significant cost and efficiency wins. “Our customers are responding well to the integration of the two businesses, and our people are energized by the drive for innovation across the business. A number of innovations are also in motion across operations, manufacturing and product development,” says Vangeluwe.
“We look forward to uncovering new synergies and building a strong foundation for innovation across the organization as Solmax completes the integration of its businesses and leads the sector into the digital age of geosynthetics.”
Contact: Andreea Sasu