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Boral, a leading Australian building materials maker, sees huge potential in the Korean market as demand for remodeling of buildings and apartments grows.
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• Boral, a leading Australian building materials maker, sees huge potential in the Korean market as demand for remodeling of buildings and apartments grows. Boral CEO Mike Kane said Korea was one of the four most important markets for the company, along with Australia, Thailand and Indonesia. "Korea and Australia lead the way in terms of business size and scope in developed markets," Kane said in an interview with The Korea Times. "We look to Korea to help us bring operations around Asia up to the standards of Korea." The company, which mainly produces plasterboard, started business here in 1998 and has been expanding market share. Kane, who chose Korea as the first destination for his Asia trip, said that the most interesting part of the Korean market was the remodeling boom. "A lot of repair and remodeling work is done in shops that are converting to different formats and different looks in a commercial setting, as well as homes and condominiums," Kane said. "They need plasterboard products to help in that work. That is a significant part of the most mature market. It is why there is continued growth inside the portfolio in matured markets." In 2002, when local companies were moving their bases to China to find cheap labor, Boral closed one of its China factories and opened one in Dangjin. USG Boral, after a merger with US building material firm USG in 2014, now has 45 percent of the domestic market in terms of manufacturing share, rivaling local building material giant KCC. The firm supplies plasterboards, ceiling tiles and compounds to other construction firms as well, including Byucksan. Annual sales nearly doubled to 220 billion won in 2013, from 132 billion won in 2001. The company made more than 250 billion won last year, posting a record 13 percent growth. The company said the growth stemmed from its innovative products. Kane said trends showed a move to lightweight materials that were easier to install and more durable. The company this year launched Sheetrock, a product that is 10 percent lighter than the company's former model. It said the initial response from Korean buyers had been good. "We are focused on how we can minimize the number of application points in this market to cut costs," Kane said. "Cost becomes the driving factor in matured markets like Korea. "We think Asia is the big opportunity for next 50 years. We look to Korea as the example of how it is done in the Asian context."