Volume 45, Issue 12 - December 2010


Canada’s Barber Glass Industries Placed into Receivership
The Bank of Montreal has appointed Grant Thornton Limited as receiver and manager of Barber Glass Industries, including all of the company’s assets. The company was placed into receivership on November 10 by Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice.

Guelph, Ontario-based Barber Glass issued a statement on the receivership, saying, “The company has become victim to the ever increasing poor economic times. It is with great sadness that we announce our lenders have elected to place the company in receivership.”

Barber had expanded in 2008 with a new plant in Collingwood, Ontario (see February 2009 USGlass, page 46) and the statement cites some problems with equipment issues at that plant.

“A major equipment supplier to the new facility had problems in solving their equipment issues resulting in a delay in the start-up of commercial production for six months,” the company writes.

The company notes that it had been working diligently to find financing solutions. “The company was close to an interim agreement with the support of its suppliers and customers but was unable to get its operating lender onside,” the statement says.

According to the November 10 court order, the receiver is empowered and authorized to do any of the following: take possession of and exercise control over the property and any and all proceeds, receipts and disbursements arising out of or from the property; to manage, operate and carry on the business of the debtor, which may include ceasing to perform any contracts of the debtor; to receive and collect all monies and accounts now owed or heareafter owing to the debtor; to sell, convey, transfer, lease or assign the property or any part or parts out of the ordinary course of business.

The court order says that all Barber employees shall remain employees “until such time as the receiver, on [Barber’s] behalf, may terminate the employment of such employees.”

Barber Glass has been in business for 127 years.

“The most difficult day of my life was standing in front of my employees to explain that the company had been placed in receivership. This, in spite of three years of significant efforts of the management team, tremendous support by our dedicated employees and local suppliers,” said John Barber, president, in the statement.

Fletcher-Terry Forms New Glass Cutting Unit

Fletcher-Terry LLC in Farmington, Conn., recently announced the creation of a dedicated operating unit to focus and grow its industrial glass cutting business in the global market place.

“This is the result of our long-term strategic planning announced at the beginning of 2010 by the new ownership management team,” says Blair Tomalonis, president. “Glass cutting started this company back in 1868 and we see tremendous opportunity in the global market.”

Saint-Gobain Invests $80 Million for 50 Percent Stake in SAGE Electrochromics
Saint-Gobain Glass in Paris has acquired 50 percent of the equity of the Faribault, Minn.-based SAGE Electrochromics for the large-scale manufacture of electrochromic glass. According to an announcement from SAGE, it is an $80 million investment geared toward mass marketing the dynamic glass product.

Under terms of the agreement, Saint-Gobain will contribute its electrochromic glass intellectual property to SAGE, and all manufacturing and research and development efforts will be merged. The funding from Saint-Gobain will go toward construction of an electrochromic glass manufacturing facility in Faribault where SAGE will manufacture the dynamic glass for both companies’ product lines. Two senior members of Saint-Gobain’s management team—Jean-Pierre Floris, senior vice president of Compagnie de Saint-Gobain and president of the Innovative Materials Sector, and Francois-Xavier Moser, Saint-Gobain Glass Solutions managing director—will join SAGE’s board of directors.

According to Jim Wilson, chief marketing officer for SAGE, “This is huge. This is the world’s largest building materials company. It has been doing electrochromic research for 15 years, and they have made a decision that their go-forward strategy with regard to electrochromic is a partnership with SAGE.”

Wilson explains that, with the partnership, “All of the future research and development activities are being merged—Saint-Gobain will no longer be developing electrochromic glass. SAGE will manufacture the electrochromic glass for both companies’ product lines going forward.”

Wilson says talks have been ongoing between the two companies since March 2010, and calls the partnership a “validation” of SAGE’s work in this technology arena. “[Saint-Gobain] is a very conservative $64 billion company. This is a company that was founded in 1655 … they built some of the most iconic structures in the world and they don’t do anything without a lot of research. This validates the value proposition for electrochromic glass. It validates the potential market for electrochromic glass—a $64 billion company like this is not going to move forward unless they believe the market is huge. But most importantly to us, it validates the clear world leadership position that SAGE has in the technology.”

Earlier this year SAGE announced the construction of an electrochromic glass manufacturing facility in Faribault (see April 2010 USGlass, page 10). Part of the funding for the $135 million facility comes from a $72 million loan offered by the Department of Energy (DOE) toward the construction of the 300,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

“This investment [from Saint-Gobain], alongside the DOE loan, provides the ability to construct that plant,” Wilson says, adding, “we’ve just broken ground on that plant.”

The companies intend to launch the first merged-technology electrochromic product with high-volume shipments beginning in mid-2012.

SAGE will remain an independent company and continue to market its SageGlass® products in North America. Saint-Gobain will market SageGlass® under the QUANTUM GLASS™ brand in Europe, which envelopes all of that company’s “electrically enabled glass products,” as Wilson explains. The two companies will work together to develop a marketing strategy for Asia and the rest of the world, leveraging Saint-Gobain’s distribution partnerships.

AAMA, IGMA and GANA Launch Joint Glass Documents Website
The American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA), the Glass Association of North America (GANA) and the Insulating Glass Manufacturers Alliance (IGMA) have joined forces to create a new website that will serve as a one-stop resource for all glass-related documents for fenestration. It is accessible at www.glassdocs.com and features documents from all three organizations.

AAMA, IGMA and GANA are active in standards development and publications of manuals, technical bulletins, test methods and reports in North America. The documents featured on the joint website encompass all areas of glass for fenestration and are available within the following categories: codes and standards; design and fabrication; voluntary test methods; post-fabrication and installation; thermal performance; and care and maintenance.

SDC Relocates Corporate Offices and Manufacturing
Security Door Controls (SDC) has purchased a new two-story facility in Camraillo, Calif., that it says will accommodate its growing manufacturing and office needs. The company says the new building, which is larger than its previous location, will help provide efficient productivity and support for SDC and OEM product engineering, manufacturing, ShipQuick™ inventory warehouses, marketing, sales and customer service.

The new location also features a training hall that will help support SDC customers. The company’s new address is 801 Avenida Acaso, Camarillo, CA 93012.

briefly ...
Crystal Window & Door Systems has attained PPG Certified Commercial Window Fabricator status. The company qualified for the Silver Member Level within PPG’s network of certified fenestration manufacturers ... Sapa Extrusions - North America has announced a $10 million project to expand casting pit operations at its Cressona, Pa., plant. The project will add 100 million pounds of additional annual capacity to Sapa’s total casting operations. Completion and start-up of the facility scheduled for August 2011. www.sapagroup.comThe Glass Association of North America’s (GANA) Decorative Division has launched a new website featuring decorative glass products at www.decorativeglazing.com … The American Architectural Manufacturers Association has launched a new website at www.aamanet.org.

© Copyright 2010 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.