Faus Group Inc., a Spanish laminate flooring company with North American headquarters in Dalton, announced it is opening new manufacturing facilities in Calhoun and in Shanghai, China, to better supply some of its largest customers, including Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc.

“We are a $100 million revenue company that has been in Georgia since 1997. Now we are ready to go to the next level of operations by manufacturing our own products in the United States,” said Juan Flores, Faus Group’s general manager in Dalton who is being promoted to president of the company’s U.S. operations.

“All of a sudden, the Faus Group, with its prominent presence in the Southeast United States, will also become a global manufacturing powerhouse with manufacturing operations in Europe and Asia,” he told GlobalAtlanta in an interview last week.

The new Georgia facility is an existing 500,000 square-foot building on 80 acres near Calhoun, which is 68 miles north of Atlanta near Interstate 75. The new facility is to open in the first quarter of 2006, Mr. Flores said.

The company has been manufacturing its high-tech laminate flooring products, which include faux wood, stone and ceramic floors, in Gandia, Spain, on the country’s east coast. The North American headquarters, which handles the company’s sales, marketing and technical administration functions, was located in Dalton to be close to its major clients such as Home Depot, Mr. Flores explained.

“The Faus Group represents one of biggest Spanish retail companies in United States. Partnering with Home Depot has given us more exposure than any Spanish company here, but product innovation has driven our growth to become the most important Spanish company at the retail level,” he said, noting that his company sells to Home Depot’s 1,800 stores in the U.S.

The Calhoun facility will allow the company to have its manufacturing capabilities closer to its markets in North America, thus saving on shipping costs, he said. The initial operation will need 160 new employees, and some 400 are to be hired over the next two years, Mr. Flores said.

“This is an important piece of our global manufacturing strategy,” he noted, adding that the Faus Group is also beginning a joint venture manufacturing facility in Shanghai.

The Faus Group’s highest-end items will always be manufactured in Spain, Mr. Flores said, but the new China facility will allow the company to manufacture some items at a lesser cost.

The new operations are expected to double the company’s production capacity over the next two years, he said.

Laminate flooring is the fastest-growing product in the global flooring industry, Mr. Flores said. Since laminate floors were invented some 10 years ago, the products have grown to represent 6.2 percent, or $1.4 billion, of all flooring sales worldwide, he said.

Sales of laminate flooring increased by 16.7 percent from 2003-04, while ceramic floor sales grew only 10.8 percent, hardwood grew 9.8 percent, carpet grew 8.4 percent and vinyl 3.7 percent, Mr. Flores said.

The Faus Group won Home Depot’s 2005 Innovation Award for its surface technologies that make laminate flooring look very realistic, with textures that resemble the real thing. “We can resemble any material very realistically,” Mr. Flores said.

For more information, visit www.fausinc.com or contact Mr. Flores at (706) 260-2525.