Peters Corner: what it means for the natural stone sector that Polycor, with more than 50 quarries and 20 factories in Canada, the U.S. and France, has become one of the big fish in the business

Peter Becker, editor-in-chief of

In February 2023, Canadian industry giant Polycor announced plans to buy French great Rocamat. The two companies have been linked in parts for some time, and now the full acquisition is on the cards. This is an opportune time to highlight any potential impact on the sector. After all, Polycor is not one of the usual family-owned companies but was founded by investors. And it is well known: above a certain size, a company can control prices and thus push its competitors to the wall.

However, there is no indication that this is to be feared at Polycor. So let us start with the positive.

For the sector in France, Claude Gargi of Pierre Actual magazine hopes for positive effects. The reason is not that they have quasi-common genes, because Polycor has its headquarters in the French-speaking province of Québec. Rather, the editor-in-chief and deep connoisseur of the state of mind of France’s stone companies hopes that the new super-player will carry the other players along on the pitch. Gargi clearly states that he expects Polycor CEO Patrick Perus to roar like a lion in the face of sheer overwhelming competition from ceramics and cast stone, allowing the small stone companies to break cover.

Incidentally, in his editorial (March 2023 issue), Gargi sees a general trend for France’s quarries to merge, which he overstates with the ambiguous pun “The industry is concentrating.“ He points to two other cases from 2022 and 2012, where quarries merged and henceforth continued either under an old brand or under a new name with a regional reference.

Gargi hopes that the new giant in the country will enable the sector to better present the “green“ strengths of its material to consumers. In this context, Polycor had already announced in 2021 that its production would be climate-neutral by 2025.

Polycor’s logo.

This brings us to the global situation of the natural stone sector, which is more favorable than ever, and Polycor CEO Chef Perus probably took the debates about climate change seriously about 10 years ago and recognized in it a huge opportunity for natural stone as a building material.

You can follow this up if you scroll down the “News“ section on the company’s webpage: since 2015, new announcements about the purchase of quarries and processing plants in Canada and the USA have followed constantly, sometimes at intervals of only a few months. These are mainly production sites for limestones and granites, but marble and quartzite are also included.

On the web page it says about the company history: “Founded in Québec City (Canada) in 1987, the company now employs nearly 1,350 people and owns over 50 quarries and 20 processing plants.“ So in terms of size, Polycor is one of the few sector companies in the world to surpass the 1000 employee mark. The screenshot shows the current locations:

The screenshot from the webpage shows the current locations.

But such greatness also also forces us to look at the possible downsides. Capitalism means that the big fish like to eat the little ones around them. They do this, for example, by offering their materials at dumping prices.

However, the general prospects for the smaller fish in the stone sector are not bad at all. Not only is demand for stone consistently good: even during the pandemic, private consumers saw stone as a safe investment and used it to upgrade their homes and apartments – and given the current inflation in the West, they seem to continue to think so. Mind you, we’re talking about private demand here.

In addition: the small fry are all family businesses, and this allows them to earn special trust from the consumer: since there are always difficulties on a construction site, it is gratifying for the architect and the client to deal with just one company that holds all the steps in one hand, from quarrying to processing to – perhaps still – installation.

In other words, the Polycor case also teaches us that the slimness of small companies can be one of their strengths. Precisely because they are manufacturers not industries, they are especially interesting for the consumer.

Pierre Actual (#1024, March 2023), Editorial in French


(22.05.2023, USA: 05.22.2023)