Volume 35, Number 7, July 2000



                            latest news developments

Vitro Makes Organizational Changes; Prepares for the Future

Mexican glass producer Vitro announced that Ricardo González Sada, president of the company’s Flat Glass division, will resign effective July 31. José Domen, international president, will take over as president of the flat glass division.

While some in the industry have speculated that these management changes were made due to Vitro’s falling stock prices and other financial difficulties, Albert Chico Smith, Vitro’s communications director, says “this is definitely not true.” “All the changes taking place at Vitro are in accordance with our strategic plan,” he added. “We are simply reshaping our company—an ordinary effort that many companies undertake around the world.”

Other industry speculations include the fact that Vitro is planning to cut its labor force by 15 percent. Again, Smith denies this report. “We plan to reduce our corporate costs by 15 percent, not our labor force,” he said.

According to Smith, Vitro is looking to be much more aggressive in the future, and added that the company is looking for new investments in corporate businesses and may also consider small divestments in the future. “We are very optimistic regarding Vitro’s future and believe we are going in the right direction,” said Smith.

VVP America is the U.S. subsidiary of Vitro, owning such companies as Binswanger Glass, Glasscraft, ACI Distribution and Harding Glass.

Apogee Reports Increase in Sales, but Decrease in Operating Income

Apogee Enterprises Inc. reported an increase in first quarter sales for the first quarter of 2000, but a decrease in operating income. Its first quarter sales increased 13 percent to $237.3 million, while operating income decreased 35 percent to $7.0 million.

“Our sales growth in the first quarter is encouraging,” said Russell Huffer, chairman, president and CEO. “With further improvements in productivity, we expect this top-line progress to have a more positive impact on profitability during the second half of our fiscal year.”

Apogee also reported net earnings of $2.0 million, or $0.07 per diluted share. This compares with net earnings of $4.6 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2000, or $0.17 per diluted share.

Net sales for the company’s glass technologies segment rose 16 percent to $103.0 million in the first quarter. Operating income, however, decreased by 33 percent. For the glass services segment, sales increased in the first quarter by 12 percent to $136.0 million. Operating income for the segment decreased by 33 percent. Harmon Inc., the segment’s building glass services company, produced double-digit growth in sales and profits, but this was offset by continuing weak industry conditions in the auto glass group, according to Huffer.


International Building and Residential Code Means Major Industry Changes

The new International Building Code (IBC) and the International Residential Code for One and Two-Family Dwellings has now been published and Pennsylvania is the first state to have adopted the new code as of June 1, 2000. With approximately 40 states recognizing some form of the SBC Code, BOCA Code or UBC Code, it seems viable that some of these states will follow Pennsylvania’s lead and eventually adopt the new code.

A new provision in Section R613.3 of the residential code means changes for residential window and door manufacturers. According to the new provision, all windows sold in a jurisdiction covered by the IBC code must be tested by an independent laboratory and certified by an independent third-party administrator.

The new code also requires more stringent requirements for mulled products. At design load, mullion deflection must not exceed 1/175. Subsequent to 1.5 times design load, permanent set must not exceed 0.4 percent of the mullion span.

There is also a section in the new code that commercial window and glass door manufacturers must pay close attention to. Sections 2403.2 and 2403.3 of the general IBC code require glass to be firmly supported by framing members which will not allow the glass edge to deflect more than 1/175 of the glass edge length or ¾ inches, whichever is less, when subjected to either the positive or negative design loads.


Pursuit for Joint Family of Model Codes Continues for ICC and NFPA

Attempting to identify cooperative opportunities amongst organizations in the development of a joint family model of codes, a series of meetings between the International Code Council Inc. (ICC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have recently concluded.

The ICC says it has considered its “last and final” proposal by the NFPA to partner the development of a “single family of comprehensive and coordinated model codes and regulations,” explaining that while this proposal reflects NFPA’s interest in this concept, the terms of the proposal require further discussion” to fully respond to the previous ICC proposal.

Plans to develop a joint family of model codes by the ICC and NFPA began with a signed agreement, March 10, 1997. In 1998 the NFPA stated it did not intend to honor the agreement or further discuss the matter.

“During the past four years, ICC has engaged in negotiations with NFPA to secure NFPA’s involvement in and support for a jointly developed single family of codes,” said Dan Nickle, chairman of the ICC board of directors. “Notwithstanding these recent events, the ICC remains hopeful that a mutually beneficial accommodation can be reached with the NFPA.”

Key Communications to Launch
New Door & Window Publication

Manufacturers, fabricators and suppliers of windows, doors and other openings products, will be interested in Door & Window Maker™, a new publication written exclusively with this group in mind. The new magazine, launched by Key Communications, publisher of USGlass magazine, will premiere in November 2000. Door & Window Maker will then be published on a quarterly basis in 2001.

The magazine will offer an in-depth treatment of the window and door manufacturing industry by providing the latest manufacturing news and trends. Along with in-depth staff-written articles, the magazine has also assembled experts from the leading window and door associations and companies to write regular columns and also to sit on magazine’s editorial advisory board.

For more information on Door & Window Maker, call 540/720-5584 or visit www.glass.com to download a free subscription form.


© Copyright 2000 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved. No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.