Volume 43, Issue 1 - January 2008

News Now              Powered by USGlass News Network
visit www.usgnn.com for news every day

Apogee Purchases 100 Percent
of Tubelite Inc. Stock for $44 Million

Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises Inc. announced on December 21, 2007, that it had purchased 100-percent of the stock of Walker, Mich.-based Tubelite Inc., which fabricates aluminum storefront, entrance and curtainwall products for the United States commercial construction industry, for approximately $44 million.

“The purchase of Tubelite, with annual revenues of approximately $60 million, is part of Apogee’s strategy to grow its presence in architectural markets,” says Russell Huffer, Apogee chairperson and chief executive officer. “Tubelite brings a new, high-quality product line to Apogee—storefront and entrance products. The market for storefront and entrance products, which are part of every commercial construction project, is estimated to be more than $1 billion. These products are usually purchased and installed by the same glazing subcontractor that installs curtainwall and windows, two core product lines currently offered by Apogee companies.”

“We’re pleased to be joining a financially-strong, market leader that we’ve known for a long time,” says Ken Werbowy, Tubelite president. “For many years, we’ve worked closely with Apogee’s Linetec company, which applies paint and anodized finishes to Tubelite’s extrusions, and are happy to be securing our relationship with a finisher known for quality services and quick lead times.” 

No major changes are expected to Tubelite following the completion of its sale, according to Steve Green, the director of sales and marketing for Tubelite.

“The company is going to be run as an independent business unit under the Apogee umbrella of companies,” Green says. There will be no changes for Tubelite’s employees, Green adds, although the resources of the new parent company may provide additional stability for employees. He says, “Those of our shareholders that are actively involved in the business will continue on in the senior management team of the company.”

Overall, Green says that few changes will be seen—except that now, with Apogee’s backing, Tubelite will be able to offer a greater range of resources to its clients. 

“I think they like what they bought—they’re not into change a whole lot,” Green says of Apogee. “We bring to them a part of the commercial architectural business they don’t have, so there are some synergies there … It’s a good fit.” 

IWCA Letter Stirs Controversy
A letter sent to the Glass Association of North America (GANA) from the International Window Cleaning Association’s (IWCA) Tempered Glass Quality Committee is urging GANA to retract two glass informational bulletins—Proper Procedures for Cleaning Architectural Glass Products and Heat-Treated Glass Surfaces are Different—claiming the documents represent inaccurate or misleading information. According to the letter, the IWCA’s concerns come after learning that GANA had formed a task group to develop a statement that would address its position on the issue of using metal scrapers to clean glass.

For the past several years, communications have been ongoing between GANA and the IWCA on the subject of using metal scrapers to clean glass (see “Think Big” in the November 2007 USGlass Only Online section at www.usglassmag.com). According to the IWCA letter, “the presence of fabricating debris on tempered and heat-strengthened glass is an easily preventable surface defect [that] presents a serious maintenance problem to the owner of the glass for the life of the glass.”

During past meetings and discussions, GANA has explained that these particles cannot be eliminated completely, as they are an inherent part of the tempering process. The association has also promoted procedures that can make the glass better, and they have worked to bring this information to the tempering industry.

In this most recent correspondence, IWCA claims, “when a metal scraper is used to remove construction debris from poor quality, heat-treated glass, the scraper dislodges defects and drags them along the glass, resulting in excess scratching to the glass surface.” The letter goes on to say, “This issue is a direct result of some glass fabricators not maintaining their facilities in a responsible manner.”

Jeff Hardin from Transparent Window Cleaning, who also serves on the IWCA board of directors, spoke to USGlass regarding their sources of information about tempered glass. He says the information comes from years of experience, including members having toured and visited different glass plants. “It’s hard to give just one source,” Hardin says.

At this time, GANA is not commenting on the IWCA’s letter.

© Copyright 2008 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.