The origins of Fletcher Building date back to the early 1900s with a wooden villa which still stand in Dunedin, NZ today. From those humble beginnings, James Fletcher and his brothers incorporated Fletcher Bros Ltd in 1915 starting the journey that has made Fletcher Building, and its brands, a trusted part of many people’s lives today.
It’s important to note that our history is diverse and that many companies in the Fletcher Building group have beginnings that go back even further than the early 1990s. Many of these businesses share Fletcher’s humble beginnings, pioneer spirit and that deep commitment to finding innovative ways to meet the needs of their customers.
For example, Higgins, a recent 2016 acquisition, was established by brothers, continuing that values-based, family focus that has remained a constant throughout our entire history. GBC Winstone is another company which grew thanks to a strong partnership of brothers. It was founded by William Winstone in 1864 who started with a single coal cart. It is now one of New Zealand's largest aggregates businesses.
Through the 1920s, 30s and 40s, the business continued its steady growth fuelled by a willingness to work hard and a focus on meeting customer needs in new and better ways. This included the introduction of US-styled brick and tile houses in the late 1920s and the creation of New Zealand’s first ready-mix concrete business in the late 1930.
The early 1980s saw the creation of Fletcher Challenge, resulting in rapid expansion, both internationally via Asia, Europe and the UK and through the acquisition of diverse interests in forestry, paper, pulp, meat processing, gas distribution and fisheries businesses.
By the 1990s the focus firmly came back to the core business of building, building products and home environments, leading to the divestment of many non-core businesses. In 2001, Fletcher Challenge was split into a number of focused specialist businesses with the parent company, Fletcher Building Ltd, listing on the NZ stock exchange.
Since the millennium, Fletcher Building has been expanding through strategic merger and acquisition activity – like Laminex and Formica – which have further strengthened the core building business. Since the days of James Fletcher and his brothers we’ve been about building a great company, and no doubt we’ll continue to refine our portfolio as the needs of our customers and communities require us to.