Geosynthetic Clay Liner Installation Image from Solmax

As expected, Montreal-based Solmax, which was already a global leader in geosynthetics when it acquired GSE Environmental in December 2017, has finalized its agreement with Koninklijke Ten Cate (the Netherlands) to acquire TenCate Geosynthetics. With the transaction concluded, we can now recognize the union as the largest, leading geosynthetics company in the world.

Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and Fonds de solidarité FTQ, Solmax’s long-term financial partners, are investors in the transaction, which was first announced 7 April 2021.

“Solmax is already the global leader in the development, manufacture, and provision of high-quality polyethylene geomembranes for containment in industrial and environmental applications,” says Jean-Louis Vangeluwe, President of Solmax, in a 1 June 2021 release. “Now, with the addition of TenCate’s geosynthetics, industrial fabrics, and manufacturing plants, we have unmatched breadth of scope, scale, and reach. Together, we create a better, stronger, faster Solmax—positioning ourselves well to accelerate our vision of driving higher standards, stimulating innovation, and leading the geosynthetics industry forward.”


Solmax’s historical growth has been dramatic. The company began as small distributor 40 years ago and evolved steadily through the project chain (distribution, installation, manufacture). While the company’s financial partners have helped arrange the capital to make these leaps, a great deal of Solmax’s growth stems from the culture of innovation and trust established and cared for by Mr. Jacques Côté, the company’s founder and current Executive Chairman of the Board.

Solmax’s teams have regularly produced internal experts who have been given the room to develop roadmaps to new markets and business lines. They have developed new manufacturing techniques, embraced new technologies, and all in all felt empowered to seek growth.

With the addition of TenCate Geosynthetics’s globally developed expertise, Solmax sees itself as a diverse innovation powerhouse.

Appropriately, the companies have chosen a bridge to symbolize the new union.

“There is no geosynthetic solution we cannot deliver,” says Vangeluwe, “and that’s good for the environment, and great for industry, people, and progress.”

This backs up the mission Vangeluwe espoused in December 2017 following the major acquisition by Solmax of GSE Environmental. Vangeluwe expressed a concern he’d felt not for market competitiveness–which he strongly supports and sees as essential to a healthy field–but for the innovation stagnation that the industry was at risk for if critical environmental sectors became overly commoditized.

The shock of adding GSE Environmental’s huge global presence and application experts to Solmax instigated a strong wave of developments, and not just for the company. It could be felt in how other companies reinvested in, announced, and introduced their own innovations.

Now TenCate joins Solmax’s story, and it brings with it a great track record of material enhancements (e.g., wicking geotextiles beneath roadways).

The now much-larger organization boasts 19 production facilities around the world and sales to more than 100 countries. Solmax’s containment strength in mining, energy, waste management, water, and civil engineering joins with TenCate’s large footprint in transportation, building sites, water management, natural resources, and environmental applications.

“It’s an ideal match,” says Wally Moore, CEO of TenCate Geosynthetics.

“Our vision is ambitious,” says Jacques Côté. “Solmax aims to reshape the industry, leading change by bringing to market innovative products that are more reliable, stronger, and affordable, even in developing countries. And TenCate’s contribution is significant. Together, our products, services, and people will create a stronger global company, one that we believe is even better positioned to make a formidable and lasting contribution to advancing the geosynthetics industry, supporting human progress, and the protecting the planet.”

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