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CSR Limited

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**1. History and Expansion of CSR Limited in Sugar Industry:**
– Founded in Sydney in 1855 by Edward Knox as the Colonial Sugar Refining Company
– Expanded operations to Melbourne, New South Wales, Queensland, and Fiji in the late 1800s
– Acquired land and established plantations in Queensland with government approval
– Transitioned to owning and running large sugar plantations in Queensland and Fiji
– Established major plantations like Victoria Plantation and Homebush Plantation
– Monopoly on Queensland sugar production until 1989

**2. Diversification into Construction and Mining Sectors:**
– Diversified into building products in 1942 with a plaster mill in Sydney
– Acquired Bradford Insulation in 1959 and entered the insulation market
– Produced building materials like fibre cement sheeting and aerated concrete products
– Established Viridian glass company in 2007
– Acquired by Saint-Gobain in 2024 for A$4.5 billion

**3. Controversies and Legal Battles related to Asbestos Mining:**
– Operated mines at Wittenoom, Western Australia from 1948 to 1966
– Produced 161,000 tons of crocidolite fiber, leading to severe asbestos exposure
– Numerous legal battles and compensation claims due to asbestos-related diseases
– Considered Australia’s worst industrial disaster
– Settlement reached in 1989 to cover compensation costs

**4. Industrial Disaster Impact and Health Effects:**
– Wittenoom’s mining and milling of blue asbestos led to severe health repercussions
– Predictions indicate around 2,000 cases of fatal diseases by 2020
– Fatal diseases like pleural mesothelioma and lung cancer developed in exposed individuals
– The tragedy inspired the song ‘Blue Sky Mine’ by Midnight Oil
– Continuing health effects of asbestos exposure on individuals

**5. Related Entities and Affiliations:**
– Chelsea Sugar Refinery associated with CSR
– Edward Knox connected to CSR operations
– Rinker Group and Boral linked to the industry
– Julie Bishop has ties to CSR-related activities
– Various companies and individuals affiliated with CSR’s operations

CSR Limited (Wikipedia)

CSR Limited is a major Australian industrial company, producing building products and having a 25% share in the Tomago aluminium smelter located near Newcastle, New South Wales. It is publicly traded on the Australian Securities Exchange. In 2021, it had over 3,000 employees and reported an after-tax profit of $146 million. The company has a diversified shareholding, with predominantly Australian fund managers and retail owners. The group's corporate headquarters is in North Ryde, Sydney.

CSR Limited
Company typePublic
IndustryBuilding materials
Founded1855; 169 years ago (1855) in Sydney, Australia
FounderEdward Knox Edit this on Wikidata
Area served
Australia, New Zealand, United States
Key people
  • Julie Coates (MD)
  • John Gillam (Chairman)
ProductsPlasterboard, bricks, insulation, aluminium
RevenueIncrease A$2.32 billion (2019)
Increase A$265 million (2019)
Increase A$146 million (2021)
Number of employees
~3,000 (2021)

Founded in Sydney in 1855 as the Colonial Sugar Refining Company at the Old Sugarmill, the company expanded into milling cane in Queensland and Fiji from the 1870s. It quickly became the most important miller and refiner in Australasia, with a virtual monopoly on Queensland and Fiji sugar production up to, respectively, 1989 and 1972. It also sold by-products of the sugar industry, from molasses to ethanol. In 2010, CSR sold its sugar and ethanol business, which had been given the name Sucrogen in 2009, to the Singaporean company Wilmar. As of 2015, the business is known as Wilmar Sugar.

The company began to diversify into building products as early as 1942, with the construction of a plaster mill in Sydney, and in 1947 the company began manufacturing plasterboard. It acquired Bradford Insulation in 1959, which produced heat insulation materials for buildings, and currently has a substantial share of the insulation market in Australia and Asia. The company also produces fibre cement sheeting, aerated concrete products, bricks, permanent formwork for walls and systems to support plasterboard construction through Rondo, a joint venture with Boral. It spun off its interests in heavy building products to a separate listed company, Rinker Group, in 2003. In 2007, CSR established the Viridian glass company which it sold in 2019.

In 2024, French multinational Saint-Gobain agreed to acquire CSR for A$4.5 billion (US$2.95 billion).

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