Volume 12, Issue 7 - September 2011
Executives at Chelsea Building Products say they are excited
about the growth potential awaiting them via its new ownership. Graham
Partners, a privately held investment firm, acquired Chelsea Building
Products Inc. of Oakmont, Pa., from the Tessenderlo Group. Chelsea, a
producer of PVC profiles for doors, windows and specialty products, generated
annual sales of approximately $50 million USD in 2010. Despite that, Tessenderlo
says it shopped for a buyer so it could use the proceeds of this transaction
for growth in its core activities.
Onex Ups its Investment in Jeld-Wen
International Window Re-Opens for Business
International Windows’ message to customers is that it has re-opened, is shipping windows and is even putting new products and procedures into place that will improve on the company’s 50-year-plus reputation.
International Window parent company, International Architectural Products, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in May, and International Window was acquired by Universal Moulding in June.
After having to close its doors on May 11, Lori Bargeron, sales manager, reports the company re-opened on July 5 under new ownership.
Familiar faces at International Window, with decades of experience in the industry, were also re-hired. Larry McConnell and Rick Johnson are back as general managers of the Hayward, Calif., and Fullerton, Calif., facilities respectively, as well as four salespeople, in addition to Bargeron. All in all, McConnell says about 20 percent of the workforce has returned.
“We have supervisors at both divisions, as well as production workers and are taking orders daily for shipments that will get to customers within a week,” says McConnell.
Bargeron says that even when the company had stopped production in May, she continued to field calls from customers.
“I kept the same number and was returning calls,” she says. “I thought they were due an explanation.”
While customers were forced to find another window supplier, Bargeron reports that word is now getting out slowly, including through a letter sent to customers.
“No one has said they won’t be coming back,” says McConnell, who adds that the reaction from customers to the re-opening has been very emotional.
“I worked with this company for 37 years and have known some of these customers for 37 years. They are pleased to see us back in business and are pleased to see the people with years of service back to work. We had a very good reputation—our problems were caused by the financial issues of the corporation,” she says.
Bargeron says customers are asking if the products will stay the same, to which she quickly replies yes, although some new
additions are in the works and the company is exploring some possible expansion into new territories.
“We had a new vinyl line we were working on prior to the bankruptcy and the new owners are proceeding with that,” she says. “We are also putting in a new paint line, which will shorten lead times.
The company currently ships to California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and Oregon. McConnell says the company is in negotiations to add distributors for Texas and New Mexico.
And as far as business as usual goes, “We are presently ahead of schedule for what we thought we would do by now,” says McConnell. “Our growth is dictated by the people we can get back. We believe in three months we will be near where we were before.”
Hurd Gets Aggressive with SuperSeal
Hurd Windows and Doors has announced that its subsidiary, Superseal Windows and Doors, will expand its market presence with a new facility in Merrill, Wis., alongside Hurd’s glass factory will remain operational.
Hurd purchased Superseal, which already had a manufacturing facility in South Plainfield, N.J., in January 2011. The addition of the new plant will allow the company to expand the Superseal brand into the Midwest, western United States and international markets, according to Hurd.
“Demand for the product is there,” says Dominic Truniger, president and chief executive officer of Hurd Windows and Doors. “This expansion will accomplish the dual purpose of building the Superseal brand, while improving distribution efficiency through consolidated shipping of Hurd and Superseal products.”
Hurd plans for the new Superseal vinyl window plant to become operational this fall. The company says it is investing in equipment and significant upgrades at the Merrill facility, and anticipates hiring up to 50 people within the next year.
Masonite to Invest Big in Automated Plant
Masonite International Corp. plans to invest $14 million in a next-generation automated interior door production line and infrastructure at its Denmark, S.C., plant in Bamberg County. And with the help of a state program the company will have assistance in training future workers.
The South Carolina Department of Commerce and Bamberg County partnered with Masonite to provide a grant from the state’s Regional Infrastructure Fund, as well as other pro-business incentives, to expand operations in the Denmark facility.
Through the state’s readySC™ workforce training program, a division of the SC Technical College System, Denmark Technical College is developing a curriculum to train current and future employees of the Denmark facility. The company expects to employ up to 200 within the next five years, when the new technology is fully installed.
“We are committed to investing in innovative manufacturing and product technologies, and we want to make those investments in communities where we have cooperative relationships with regional and local government,” says Fred Lynch, Masonite’s president and CEO.
Masonite acquired the plant in October, 2010 from Lifetime Doors Inc. The Denmark facility manufactures residential interior doors for its Southeast customers,
“Investing in our Denmark facility made sense on so many levels,” says Glen Coulter, executive vice president of global operations and supply chain. “It’s also conveniently located near several major interstates, near major customers and our company’s Yulee, Fla., door fabrication plant that pre-hangs doors for our Southeast retail customers.”
The company is in the planning and engineering phase of the production line, and the new system is expected to be operational by early 2013. This is subject to finalizing definitive agreements with the South Carolina Coordinating Council for Economic Development and Bamberg County, S.C., according to Masonite.
SIMONSWERK Opens Facility in North America
Simonswerk, a manufacturer of adjustable door hinges, is continuing its international expansion by establishing a new subsidiary in Whitewater, Wis. The German company has manufactured hinge systems for 120 years, and serves more than 60 international markets and has representation in 19 countries. The company says it generates annual sales of approximately $100 million with its 500 employees.
The new facility will serve as the North American headquarters and distribution center. “Simonswerk takes pride in their modern, high-quality products, which made their success and this expansion possible,” says Rudy Kessler, chief executive officer of the Whitewater facility. “We are very excited about this move.”
Senator Talks Manufacturing at Gorell Windows and Doors
To help form his policy on manufacturing, U.S. Senator Robert Casey Jr., (D-Pa.) visited Gorell Windows & Doors’ manufacturing facility in Indiana, Pa. Casey, who was recently appointed as Chair of the Joint Economic Committee, wanted to talk to various manufacturing companies regarding their needs as an industry to help him form his policies.
“I think the feedback Senator Casey received will be very helpful to him in creating national policies for the manufacturing sector,” said Michael Rempel, Gorell’s vice president of administration and president of the Indiana County Manufacturing Consortium.”
Gorell and other members of the consortium shared views on the challenges they face in workforce development, funding for training programs, the challenges of excessive regulations—especially in the area of environmental issues—how coal and gas resources can positively impact the manufacturing sector and more. One of the key points was the need for skilled and qualified workers, and funding for programs that promote vocational education as a viable alternative to college for high school graduates.
Senator Casey spoke of the need for a cohesive national manufacturing strategy. He said the country has elements of one, but not anything that is fully realized.