Volume 44, Issue 7 - July 2009

Company News

AGC Merges Flat and Auto Glass Divisions to Boost Productivity 
In its first quarter 2009 financial report Asahi Glass Co. (AGC) in Japan reported that it would merge its current flat glass company and automotive glass company to create a single all-encompassing glass company. The company will be headquartered in Brussels with regional headquarters in Japan, Belgium and the U.S. The decision to merge the divisions was made in an effort to boost productivity following the announcement of bleak financial results for the first quarter of 2009 (see chart). 

As the outlook for the global economy in 2009 remains uncertain, and the economic growth of emerging countries that have led AGC’s worldwide growth is expected to slow down, the company expects shipments of flat and automotive glass to remain flat in 2009 throughout all regions. Moreover, the company expects the growth rate of glass for solar cells to slow as a result of the worsening economic climate. Based on the outlook for these and other business conditions, without changing any of its initial plans related to FY 2009 forecast, AGC expects its income for the half to be significantly down. 

In a May article in the Kingsport Times-News, Chris Correnti, AGC vice president, general counsel and secretary, stated, “We think it’s going to be good for our Kingsport services group. 

... As far as the total company in North America, there might be some more layoffs, but it shouldn’t impact our plants here because they’re not in the automotive side of the business.”

USGlass could not reach Correnti for comment as of press time as to whether other employees or customers may be impacted by the merger. 

Asahi Glass Co. Outlook for Consolidated Operating Results for the First Half of Fiscal 
Year 2009, January 1-June 30, 2009(Unit: millions USD)

Net Sales  Operating Income Ordinary Income (loss)  Net Income (loss)
(as announced this time)
$5,132 $0   ($51)    ($390)    
Results for the previous term 
(interim ended June 2008)  
$7,945                  $1,124 $982  $492
Annual outlook  
(fiscal year ending December 31, 2009)
$10,264 $307 $205 ($431)  

Doralco Expands Capacity in First Quarter
Doralco, based in Alsip, Ill., is expanding its architectural cladding division with additional column cover manufacturing equipment and skilled craftsmen.

“We’ve been very fortunate to enjoy good growth in this economy,” says Tom O’Malley, vice president of sales, who attributes this to three things: “the partnerships with our suppliers and customers; our team’s commitment to always exceeding our customers’ expectations; and our new product innovation.”

The company says the additional capacity is needed to handle increased demand for column covers. 

“This new expansion just gives us another edge against our column cover competition and gives us the capacity to maintain one of the fastest turnaround times in the industry,” says Brian Clifford, president. “I know it’s crazy, but we’ve actually been able to turn the economic downturn into new business through fresh thinking and only the best customers.”

U.S. House Republican Leader Visits Deceuninck North America
Deceuninck North America’s Monroe, Ohio, facility hosted John Boehner, House representative for the eighth district of Ohio and House Republican Leader, in May. Boehner began his visit by meeting with Mark Parrish, the company’s president and chief executive officer. During their meeting (which was closed to the press) Parrish raised a number of discussion topics that he said were of key importance. These included the energy-efficient window tax credit and the buy-American provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act; the Freedom of Choice Act; public school green building construction standards; and the implementation of the Energy Independence Act of 2007.Parrish told USGlass that Rep. Boehner, whose background prior to politics was in the plastics industry, was very attuned to the homebuilding industry.

“He was in the moment and aware of our processes here and the fact that we have had to close two plants in the past two years,” said Parrish, adding that while Deceuninck, like so many others in the building products industry, has been faced with difficult times, he is still looking forward to a North American expansion strategy when the economy can support that.

“That’s part of the reason I invited him here; because we are invested and committed to a North American presence and expansion. We’re here to stay,” said Parrish who noted that even though Rep. Boehner had not supported the stimulus plan, it indeed has benefited the company.

“We’ve recently started hiring again and our orders are increasing,” said Parrish.

Vice President Biden Visits Republic Windows/Serious Materials
Vice President Joe Biden visited Chicago’s Republic Window and Doors (now Serious Materials) at the end of April, accompanied by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Roland Burris and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley, to illustrate how the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act has had an impact.

The plant, which will largely be producing commercial windows, wasn’t up and running at the time, but Serious was prepared to re-open by July and slowly bring back more workers. Approximately a dozen re-hired plant workers were on-hand for this event. 

Serious Materials president Kevin Surace said the plant’s re-opening “will bring life back to American manufacturing. Without the Recovery Act this would not have been possible.” 

“We’re not measured by a jump in the gross domestic product,” Biden said, “but by the men and women who will come back to work here.

”He also said he’d like to come back to the plant in the future.

“I hope I’m invited back when 600 workers are working three shifts.”

That visit may be a long way off, but the workers who have been re-hired say they long for that day as well, including Armando Robles, a maintenance worker at the factory and president of UE Local 1110, who spoke with USGlass. 

“This is great for us,” said Robles. “We hope that all our workers will come.

”Melvin Maclin, vice president of the union, added that he looks forward to the new ownership.

“During a time when other companies are going out of business, Serious is expanding,” he said. “We never gave up hope that we would come back.

”Pete Kovacik was hired in April as commercial sales manager for the Midwest region, and previously worked for Traco.

“We are looking at some innovative things for heavy commercial [applications] and will manufacture these with the most energy-efficient materials,” Kovacik said.

Surace said the plant already has the capabilities to produce commercial glass. It has three glass lines and a tempering line in house. “They [the former owners] invested heavily,” said Surace.

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