Founded in 1887 by Harvey Benjamin Fuller, H.B. Fuller is a provider of functional coatings, adhesives and sealants with operations around the globe. The company serves customers across more than 30 market segments, including electronics, disposable hygiene, medical, transportation, aerospace, clean energy, packaging, construction, woodworking, general industries, and other consumer businesses. H.B. Fuller employs over 7,200 people. It has 81 manufacturing plants and operates facilities or offices in 34 countries.

The company’s net revenue was down slightly in 2023 at $3.51 billion, compared to $3.75 billion in 2022. In its annual report, the company stated the decrease of 6.4% in net revenue compared to 2022 was driven mainly by a lower sales volume of 8.4% and a decrease of 2.4% because of currency fluctuation. These drops were somewhat offset by increases due to acquisitions and product pricing. Another factor was lowered revenue (by 1.8%) due to an extra week in 2022.

The company operates in three global business units—Hygiene, Health and Consumable Adhesives; Engineering Adhesives; and Construction Adhesives. In 2023, the Hygiene, Health and Consumable Adhesives business unit accounted for 45% of revenue for the company. Engineering Adhesives accounted for 41% of 2023 revenue, and Construction Adhesives accounted for 14% of revenue.

Net revenue in the company’s Hygiene, Health and Consumable Adhesives business unit was $1.6 billion, down 5.6% compared to revenue in 2022. With 36 facilities, the segment serves markets such as packaging, hygiene, tape and label, medical and beauty.

The Engineering Adhesives business unit posted net revenue in 2023 of 1.4 billion, down 6.8% compared to 2022. This business unit operates 28 facilities and sells into the energy, electronics, automotive, transportation, and wood and composites industries, among others.

With 14% of 2023 revenue, the Construction Adhesives business unit operates 17 facilities. The segment saw 2023 sales decrease by 7.7% to $481 million. It is active in markets such as flooring, commercial roofing, and building envelope and infrastructure.

"As the largest pureplay adhesives company in the world, we are focused on enhancing our portfolio mix while capitalizing on the tremendous growth and margin expansion opportunities before us, and continuing to generate strong cash flow and improved profitability, while investing in programs and partnerships that attract and retain top talent and benefit the communities in which we live and work. Above all, we will continue to deliver the value our customers expect from us," said Mastin.

NOTES: H.B. Fuller had six acquisitions in 2023 across several geographies and global business units.

In January 2023, the company acquired the assets of Aspen Research. Aspen, located in Minnesota, is a contract research organization that develops and manufactures innovative solutions for some of the adhesives used in H.B. Fuller’s insulating glass market. The acquisition is expected to expand the Engineering Adhesives footprint in North America and strengthen its capabilities in insulating glass.

In May, the company announced the acquisition of Beardow Adams, a multinational industrial adhesive manufacturer based in the UK. In business since 1976, Beardow Adams had customers in approximately 70 countries and manufacturing capabilities across Europe and the United States. H.B. Fuller completed two acquisitions in June: Adhezion Biomedical, a privately held U.S. medical adhesives business, and XCHEM International, an adhesives manufacturer in the United Arab Emirates. In September, the company announced the acquisition of Sanglier Limited, a UK-based manufacturer of and filler of sprayable (aerosol and canister) industrial adhesives. The acquisition expands H.B. Fuller’s product portfolio of construction and engineering adhesives across the UK and Europe.

In December, H.B. Fuller acquired Lemtapes Oy in Finland, a solutions provider of ecological, innovative tapes and adhesives for the packaging and plywood industries. The acquisition of Lemtapes is expected to reinforce the company’s strategic position in Europe, especially for its adhesives coated solutions products. This acquisition will also accelerate the company’s growth strategy of fast-growing, high-margin businesses while adding technology capabilities and strong customer relationships.

H.B. Fuller continues to focus on innovation. In its annual report, the company reported that 23% of its 2023 revenue came from new products introduced in the past five years. Among those products was the company’s EV Protect 4006, which won the 2023 Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC) Innovation Award. The lightweight encapsulant for lithium-ion batteries helps to make EVs and battery storage banks safer by reducing or delaying thermal propagation. The company was again honored in 2024 when Jayesh Bokria, Thomas Kauffman, Andrew Prybylowski, David McDougall, and team received the 2024 Adhesive and Sealant Council (ASC) Innovation Award for their development entitled, "Thermoplastic Encapsulant Platform for Photovoltaic Modules." The TPx platform enables lower levelized cost of energy (LCOE) and supply chain versatility while ensuring the critical performance requirements for thin-film modules by leveraging underutilized raw material feedstreams.

Opening image courtesy of H.B. Fuller.

No. 4 | H.B. Fuller

St. Paul, Minn.
CEO: Celeste Mastin
Sources: annual report, 10K filing, press releases, company contact

More on H.B. Fuller