By Christopher Walker. The Big Three in fiber-cement manufacturing became the Big Two in December when James Hardie Building Products bought the fiber-cement operations of Cemplank, giving Hardie an estimated 90% share of the fiber-cement market.

"We do not intend to make significant changes in Cemplank's product distribution, price, or availability," a Hardie press release states. The Cemplank brand will remain. The release also quotes company CEO Peter McDonald as saying that because of the deal, "product availability and distribution to our customers will be more efficient."

Steve Booz, director of marketing for CertainTeed, which is now Hardie's only significant competitor in the fiber-cement market, said the deal "shows that fiber cement is becoming an increasing force in the industry." He added that news of the deal "gives us the opportunity to show the marketplace what our product's benefits and features are."

James Hardie marketing manager John Dybsky says the company has no immediate plans to expand further. "We're always looking at whatever opportunities that would present themselves, but for the time being we've got our hands full with integrating [Cemplank] into the overall James Hardie organization."