About Us

Fox Marble Holdings plc is a dimension stone company focused on quarrying in Kosovo and Macedonia and processing in Kosovo. It is listed on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange (AIM:FOX).

Fox Marble has five quarries under licence (four of which are in operation) and a further five quarries under operating agreements. The quarries hold a combined volume of over 300 million cubic metres of premium quality marble and decorative stone. The quarries are currently being managed and developed by the Group's skilled Carrara-trained workforce.

Fox Marble is now finishing its first processing facility in Kosovo. This will enable the Group to process marble block into finished slabs. The Group's goal is to establish itself as the industry leader in decorative stone from Kosovo and Southeast Europe bringing the highest quality stone to the market at highly competitive prices. To this end in October 2016 Fox Marble announced the launch of Stone Alliance LLC. This U.S registered company will dwarf its parent and will eventually have some forty plus quarries and a further three processing plants. Stone Alliance is now at the fundraising stage of its life-cycle.


our journey

Fox Marble was founded by Chris Gilbert and Dr Etrur Albani in 2011 to exploit the extensive high quality, and in many cases unique, marble and dolomitic limestone reserves in Kosovo where the dimension stone industry had lain dormant for many decades.  The aim from the outset was to own and operate quarries, process the stone and sell stone block, transformed stone and the bi-products of processing.  A secondary objective was to introduce a new industry and type of business governance to Kosovo, a country that has struggled to develop its economy following independence in 2008.

Following extensive research, the company acquired rights and mining licences to five quarries at Rahovec (three quarries including Malishevë and Cervenillë), Syriganë and Pejë. These quarries promised an exciting palette of colours from white, through a variety of greys to red and gold. 

Fox Marble listed on the AIM of the London Stock Exchange in August 2012 raising the capital needed to equip, develop and operate its quarries and build its processing plant.  It remains the only AIM listed dimension stone company and is the first publicly listed company from anywhere in the world to build its operations predominantly in Kosovo.  The company is a trail blazing pioneer on many levels.

The initial focus was on opening its quarries.  Guided by its Italian quarry strategist, Studio Pandolfi, and highly skilled Italian quarrymasters, a workforce was recruited and trained.  Few of the workforce had any previous quarry experience.  Access roads, some of them substantial pieces of  civil engineering in their own right, were constructed and services installed.  Quarry sites and their adjacent block parks were mapped out in detail and cleared.  Only then could actual quarrying commence.

Dimension stone quarries take time to open in a way which balances short term yield and long term potential.  The geology has to be investigated in detail and adjustments made to the orientation of excavations.  Three operating seasons (these are March/April to December/January in Kosovo and Macedonia depending on the length and severity of the winters) to bring a quarry into consistent production is normal.  Fox Marble reduced that time scale with a herculean effort at all its sites but developing a top quality dimension stone quarry is still more of a painstaking than a spectacular process. 

Once the overburden has been removed, excavation is by precision drilling and cutting in order to preserve the integrity of the raw material.  The target output is large uniform stone blocks (up to a maximum of 25 tonnes in Kosovo because of transport regulations) and the faster more destructive quarrying techniques of the aggregates industry are simply not an option.  Cutting the blocks and removing them creates the stone ‘benches’ (see images above) – giant steps that are the defining visual characteristics of dimension stone quarries. 

As in most quarries, the material from closest to the surface in the Fox quarries has, for hundreds of thousands of years been subjected to the effects of weathering and the action of plant roots breaking up the uniformity of the stone and producing holes, cracks and sometimes discolouration.  Furthermore, both Kosovo and Macedonia are seismically active areas and this adds to the cracking in the surface layers in particular.  The higher quality stone, more compact, uniform and with fewer cracks and holes comes from deeper in the quarries.

Even the surface material may have commercial value.  Fox Marble has stockpiled the better surface stone from each of its quarries to await the installation of a tile processing line in its factory.   Much of it is perfect for small cut to size items such as tiles and anything which does not make the grade for that will eventually be crushed for gravel or powder.

Quarrying in Kosovo over the last 3 years has more than borne out the optimism of the early survey work.  But the Company recognised early on that a whiter marble than its Kosovo quarries were yielding would significantly enhance its portfolio.   Neighbouring Macedonia had exactly what was needed - Sivec marble.  This world-renowned material occurs in deposits running for more than 50 km through central and southern Macedonia and the company was fortunate to be able to acquire, with the help of a local partner, a large concession just to the north of Prilep, Macedonia's answer to Carrara.  It has rights to two quarries and has been extracting Sivec marble commercially for three seasons.  

Once work on opening the quarries had begun, Fox turned its corporate attention to its first processing factory.  Replacing expensive and logistically complicated processing in Italy with significantly less expensive and more agile processing in Kosovo was always a cornerstone of company strategy.  

Finding a large enough site to buy near to Prishtina, the state’s main transport hub, was the first challenge.  Lipjan, just a few km south of the capital, with its helpful mayor, was chosen.  However, the land allocated for industry in the Lipjan municipality is on a series of small hills, the municipality had undertaken no site preparation and Fox Marble was the first company to buy.   This created work.  The factory site had to be levelled (fortunately Fox is a quarrying company and had its own heavy plant available), the access road built and services laid on.   Electricity required a special agreement with the distribution company to ensure continuous provision (Kosovo has an overall electricity deficit) and installing an 8km underground cable from the nearest appropriate point on the national power grid.  The task of persuading reluctant landowners to let Fox dig a trench for the cable was a task and a half in itself.  Fortunately, water (the factory uses a lot for lubrication) was less of an issue.  It became apparent very early on that the most cost-effective solution was a bore hole on site.

The factory was designed in Italy around mostly Italian machinery.  The building itself, in a prominent yellow, was purchased and shipped from Greece whilst all the construction work was undertaken, to exacting standards, by local companies.  As soon as the building shell was complete a local artist was commissioned to paint the company name on the side of the building in letters large enough to be visible many km away and, importantly for such a pioneering investment, to be visible from aircraft taking off and landing from the nearby international airport. Those who have not seen it often assume that the name must have been Photoshopped!

The factory is being completed in stages under the supervision of Italian specialists.  The first of the vast gangsaws which cut stone blocks into slabs are now operating whilst both the slab polishing line and the epoxy resin line are nearing completion.  Once the company is satisfied that production standards match the best Italy can manage it will install its tile and cut to size processing lines and landscape the factory site.

With the factory complete the Company focus will be on consolidation and growth.  The company has already stepped up its world-wide marketing and sales drive.  Upgrading this website is part of that process. Prestigious and lucrative orders have been announced over the last two years and more are in the pipeline. The future is looking good.


World Marble Market

Driving Fox Marble is a growing global dimension stone market.  It is competitive and dominated by family-owned companies.  Fox Marble aims to bring a new style of business discipline and governance to that market and is in a unique position to sell large volumes of highly desirable fine quality dimension stone at prices competitors will struggle to match. 

The market varies from country to country, region to region.  In China and India for example, with low local processing costs, the market is for unprocessed stone blocks.  Europe, on the other hand wants stone slab and cut to size as does the Middle East.  The US is interested in transformed stone - cut to size taken to the next decorative level. 

Kosovo was once an isolated inland Yugoslav province.  Today it has a motorway to Albania which has cut the road transport time to the Albanian container and ferry (to Italy) port of Durres by two thirds since 2009.  Connecting roads to the trans-Balkan motorway network are currently congested and slow but a US/Turkish built motorway is getting closer to Macedonia by the day.  It should connect in 2018.  Meanwhile, plans are already advanced to upgrade the rail link to Thessaloniki and later into Serbia.  Indeed, the Fox factory has been sited expressly to take advantage of the rail link to Greece and the company is now pushing to have a rail spur built to the new Lipjan industrial zone in which it is the first resident

 

Board of Directors

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Andrew Allner

Non-Executive Chairman

Andrew is currently the Chairman of The Go-Ahead Group Plc, Non-Executive Chairman for Marshalls Plc and Non-Executive Director at Northgate Plc. Previously; Andrew was Non-Executive Director of Moss Bros, CSR Plc and AZ Electronic Materials SA; and Group Finance Director at RHM Plc, taking a lead role in its flotation on the London Stock Exchange in 2005 and CEO at Enodis Plc.

Andrew has also served in senior executive positions with Dalgety Plc, Amersham International Plc and Guinness Plc, and was a Partner at PriceWaterhouseCoopers

 
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Christopher Gilbert

CEO

Chris Gilbert has developed a number of successful businesses, with specific responsibility for fundraising, executive business management and their subsequent disposals. In that time, Chris has raised significant sums for companies he has founded or reorganised.

In 1992, Chris co-founded Infectious Records, an independent record company which grew to be one of the most successful independent record companies in the UK until it was sold to Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation in 1999. Following this he founded Auriga Networks, a satellite transmission company which has developed a unique technology to deliver mpeg 3 video over VSAT networks and numbers amongst its clients NATO, the British and US Army, BBC, Fox Television and CBS News. In addition, Chris co-founded DarkStar Technologies, a hi tech start up providing internet security and data management services to the entertainment industry with such clients as EMI, Sony, BMG, Warner Brothers Pictures and Universal-NBC, subsequently sold in 2010.

In 2005, Chris co-founded Crosstown Songs, a buy & build music publishing venture funded by Cargill which became a major independent music publishing company which was sold to KKR / Bertelsmann in 2009.

 
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FIONA HADFIELD

Finance Director

Fiona Hadfield is a chartered accountant. She previously worked with Deloitte LLP and qualified in 2005. In 2009, Fiona joined Crosstown Songs as Chief Financial Officer, overseeing all financial aspects of the company's disposal of assets to KKR and Bertelsmann. Fiona is a graduate of Oxford University.

 
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Sir Colin Terry KBE CB DL FREng

Non-Executive Director

Sir Colin spent 37 years in the Royal Air Force, where he reached the rank of Air Marshal. He was Director-General of Support Management in 1993, Chief of Staff at RAF Logistics Command in 1995 and Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief at RAF Logistics Command in 1997 before retiring in 1999.

Sir Colin is currently the Non-Executive Chairman of Meggitt Plc, a position he has held since 2004. He is qualified as a chartered engineer and fellow of Imperial College.

 
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Roy Harrison OBE

Non-Executive Director

A former Chief Executive of Tarmac Plc, Roy completed the sale of Tarmac to the Anglo American Mining Group in 2000. He is currently the Chairman of Renew Holdings Plc, following the corporate rescue of the Montpelier Group in 2004 and also acts as a consultant to Arriven, a private partnership, advising and investing in the UK building materials sector. Previously, he was a Senior Independent Director of the BSS Group Plc.

Corporate Responsibility

Fox Marble is committed to conduct its business to high ethical standards and with integrity. An important part of this is operating our company in a responsible and sustainable fashion.

 

Our People

Fox Marble's staff and their skills are integral to the Company's success - they are our most important assets. The welfare and wellbeing of Fox Marble's workers is extremely important to us and it is the Company's duty to provide our workers with a good working environment and fair benefits.

If you are interested in working for the Fox Marble Group, please send your CV to info@foxmarble.net.

 

Commitment to Health & safety

We operate in an industry where workplace safety is an everyday focus and it is our number one priority.

To ensure a safe and effective operational environment and to ensure the safety of our workers, we work to standards on dimensional stone quarrying from Italy, and Health and Safety standards from the UK and EU. We aim to certify our system in 2014.

 

Environmental Sustainability

Fox Marble is committed to working to preserve the environment and operating in the most sustainable and efficient way possible.

In the planning phase of each quarry site we consider the environmental impact of our operations. We focus on waste material, dust, noise and water management, and alter the development plan accordingly.

 

Policy on Bribery and Corruption

Fox Marble recognises that market practice varies across the territories in which it does business and what is normal and acceptable in one place may not be in another.

Fox Marble prohibits the offering, giving, solicitation or acceptance of any bribe, whether cash or other inducement to or from any person or company.

Fox Marble recognises that over and above the commission of any crime, any involvement in bribery will also reflect adversely on the Company's image and reputation.

This policy is not meant to prohibit the following practices providing they are customary in a particular market, are proportionate and are properly recorded:

  • Normal and appropriate hospitality
  • The giving of a ceremonial gift on a festival or at another special time
  • The use of any recognised fast-track process which is available to all on payment of a fee
  • The offer of resources to assist the person or body to make the decision more efficiently provided that they are supplied for that purpose only.

Inevitably, decisions as to what is acceptable may not always be easy. If anyone is in doubt as to whether a potential act constitutes bribery, the matter should be referred to a Fox Marble senior manager.

Notes and Definitions

Definition of Marble

The geological definition of marble is calcareous stone (limestone) that has been transformed over time by heat and pressure, known as metamorphosis, to produce a stone with a crystalline structure.   The classic is Carrara marble which is crystalline, dense, uniform and capable both of taking a high polish and being carved in great detail.  However, within the dimension stone industry, the definition of marble has traditionally been much wider and may be applied to any stone capable of taking a polish.  Many such stones are actually high quality limestones, especially dolomitic limestones, but the use of the term also sometimes embraces silicates such as onyxes and quartzites. 

The capability of marble to take a shine or polish is found in theetymology of the word ‘marble’ and its many variants.  All derive ultimately from the Greek μάρμαρον (mármaron), from μάρμαρος (mármaros) meaning ’crystalline rock, shining stone’ or possibly from the verb μαρμαίρω (marmaírō) meaning "to flash, sparkle, gleam" (see for example HG Liddell, R Scott, A Greek–English Lexicon, Perseus Digital Library and RSP Beekes, Etymological Dictionary of Greek, Brill, 2009).

In recent decades the definition of marble has been tested in the courts in the US. In August 2004 the US Court of Appeals, Federal Circuit, in the case of the International Marble Corp v the US (Case No 03-155) ruled that US Customs had no authority to narrow the definition of “marble” from the commonly used commercial meaning of a stone capable of taking a polish to the geological definition requiring crystallization.  

In the UK the marble has not been defined in court but there is an obligation under the Construction Products Regulation EU 305/20121 on the stone industry to declare the petrographic name of a stone in accordance with British Standard BS EN 12440. 

The effect of this is that whilst the industry may market a range of natural stones as ‘marble’, the petrographic name may differ and may more precisely describe the material. 

Definition of Dimension or Dimensional Stone

According to ASTM, C18, C119-08 Standard Terminology Relating to Dimension Stone (2008, p.8), dimension or dimensional stone is natural stone or rock that has been selected and finished (trimmed, cut, drilled, ground, or other) to specific sizes or shapes. This distinguishes it from crushed stone.

Natural Stone Variation

The marbles, limestones and quartzite presented in this website are all natural stone.  As such they may be subject to variation in colour and patterning across a slab, within a block, within a quarry and over time as quarries are developed and deepen.  We have striven to show examples that exhibit the full range of colour and patterning variation currently or recently available.  The Company sales team will be happy to discuss possible colour and patterning variation of particular materials with customers.