For Geberit, the acquisition of Sanitec in February 2015 represented an expansion of its strategic focus. The future product portfolio was enhanced with bathroom ceramics. Geberit became the European market leader for sanitary products and in particular strengthened its position in regions such as the Nordic Countries, France, United Kingdom and Eastern Europe, in which Geberit had not yet gained a firm foothold. The acquisition combined technical know-how in sanitary technology “behind the wall” with design expertise "in front of the wall". It also supported the Group’s key growth and earnings drivers and created added value.
The integration activities, which began in the second quarter of 2015, continued to progress according to plan in the reporting year, with the most significant integration tasks in terms of organisation, processes and systems being completed earlier than expected by the end of 2017. From 2018, line managers will promote further activities as part of daily business, with the focus on continually optimising and harmonising shared processes and the IT systems, developing combined products, making ongoing improvements in ceramics manufacturing and promoting cultural integration.
In July 2017, the result of a strategic review of two plants owned by the French subsidiary Allia that had been announced in the previous year were made known. Accordingly, in agreement with the trade unions and following approval by the authorities, the La Villeneuve-au-Chêne site was closed and ceramics production in Digoin was discontinued. In addition to a social plan, the agreement included the continuation of a packaging and logistics area in Digoin for the French market.