During the 1950s, Brazil was called a developmental country. Brazil earned that title because companies were exporting goods at crazy prices just so the country could create a stable economy. The world took notice, and Brazil became a source for raw materials, shoes, oil, precious stones, and other commodities. In the state of Sao Paulo, a sawmill called Americana Sawmill Americana was trying to get into the export business. The sawmill was known for cutting eucalyptus and other trees in that state, so there was an established domestic customer base. The Maluf family owned the sawmill, and they realized the excess eucalyptus wood that was accumulating on the sawmill’s property could be turned into a product. That idea turned into eucalyptus wood ceiling tiles. The wood ceiling tiles were inexpensive to make, and they were attractive additions to the building material supply industry.
The eucalyptus ceiling tiles caught on in the domestic market, and the demand became overwhelming. The Maluf’s started a new company to handle the demand for the tiles, and they called that company, Eucatex. Eucatex was one of the Brazilian companies that started exporting in the 1950s. Other South American countries became the first Eucatex customers. By the end of the 1960s, Eucatex was exporting ceiling tiles to North America and Europe.
The founder of Eucatex was Flavio Maluf’s grandfather. Flavio became president of Eucatex in 1997, after working for the company for ten years. Over the last 20 years, Flavio Maluf has turned Eucatex into one of the world’s leading suppliers of floorboards, doors, paint, varnishes, and other building materials. Maluf has also played an important role in promoting clean air initiatives in Brazil. Eucatex leases thousands of acres to grow eucalyptus trees. Those trees replace the trees that the company uses for some products.
Flavio Maluf is one of Brazil’s leading voices in the recycling, reduce and reuse program. Flavio is asked to speak about his success at Eucatex, but he is also asked to speak out environmental issues. Today, Eucatex is one of the top exporters of building materials. The company has three Brazilian offices and offices in the United States and in Europe.