Leading South American panel maker Arauco is linking up with European laminate flooring producer Unilin in a joint venture deal to manufacture and market flooring in Brazil.

Chile-based Arauco and the US-owned Belgian firm have signed an agreement to form the 50:50 joint venture, which includes the Arauco do Brasil laminates manufacturing plant at Piên, in Brazil’s Paraná state and the company’s local sales organisation.

This new enterprise will use HDF board supplied by Arauco and market laminate flooring products under both Arauco’s ‘Floorest’ and Unilin’s ‘Quick Step’ brands.

The deal, which will make use of Unilin’s technological, product development and marketing expertise, is set to strengthen Arauco’s position against local Brazilian flooring competitors such as Duratex and Eucatex.