Volume 46, Issue 6 - July 2011


C.R. Laurence Expands with the Acquisition of U.S. Aluminum

It’s been a busy couple of months for U.S. Aluminum. In May, the Waxahachie, Texas-based curtainwall supplier’s parent company, International Architectural Products filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy (see June 2011 USGlass, page 14).

During a hearing in June, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California approved the sale of International Architectural Products’ assets to Downey, Calif.-based Universal Molding Co. The price of the purchase was $8 million and included the majority of the company’s assets, some of which were promptly purchased by Los Angeles-based C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL).

“We are very pleased to announce the acquisition of the assets and business of U.S. Aluminum, one of the most respected names in the storefront and curtainwall business,” commented Lloyd Talbert, president of CRL, following the announcement of the acquisition on July 7. “We are proud of this new association and are especially pleased that Tom Harris, executive vice president of the predecessor company, will join us as president of the new company.”

Harris had served as executive vice president of U.S. Aluminum since September 2010. Harris was previously with Oldcastle Glass Engineered Products (now Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope™), and was president of The Vistawall Group prior to its acquisition by Oldcastle.

According to Talbert, “Tom will spend the next few weeks assembling a team to rebuild this iconic brand, and will be integral in the further development of a comprehensive architectural hardware program.”

Following U.S. Aluminum’s Chapter 7 bankruptcy, former customers expressed their outrage over the voided warranties and cancelled orders. Restoring the “luster” of the company’s brand, according to Talbert, is among the reorganized company’s chief goals.

“Our plan is to contact customers and vendors of U.S. Aluminum, as well as many of their former employees, to re-establish relationships,” Talbert said. “We wish to assure those U.S. Aluminum clients who have jobs in progress that we will immediately assess the status of their orders and expedite their completion and delivery. We’re confident that we can restore the U.S. Aluminum brand to its former luster. We also appreciate the support and encouragement we have received from many C.R. Laurence customers during this process.”

Details of the acquisition are still being finalized, but the return of U.S. Aluminum to the marketplace—and CRL’s further expansion of product offerings—already is eliciting a response from the marketplace.

Mike Nicklas, product development manager for J.E. Berkowitz L.P., says it’s an interesting acquisition for CRL. “[CRL] probably saw the timing was right, it was a good buy and it adds another dimension to their product line.” Niklas says over the past few years CRL has continued to grow and expand with architectural products, such as sunshades, metal panels and door systems, so the acquisition of U.S. Aluminum seems to fit as another product addition.

“Plus, they already have an existing customer base that uses those products,” he says.

“CRL is a well established, well run company, and the acquisition of U.S. Aluminum by CRL should fit in well to the vertical integration path that CRL seems to be pursuing,” says John Linder, president and chief executive officer of Calibre Door Closers Inc. in Orange, Calif. Linder’s father, John A. Linder, was the founder of U.S. Aluminum. “The announcement by CRL that they intend to re-establish relationships with former U.S. Aluminum employees sits well with me, and I sincerely trust some good will come out of it.”

Nicklas adds, “It’s been interesting to watch over the past few years the company that CRL is becoming. They’ve had product extensions and geographic expansion and it’s still a privately-held company.”

As notable as CRL’s latest acquisition is, this latest consolidaiton of product offerings is becoming the new “normal” in the rapidly changing glass and metal industry landscape.

“The dynamics of the storefront industry have changed more in the past 18 months than probably in the past 10 years. In fact, the dynamics of most what we have long taken for granted in our daily lives has changed, and is presently undergoing change of some sort on an almost daily basis,” Linder says.

Glaston Corp. Moves HQ to Helsinki
Glaston Corp. has announced that its head office has moved. As of June 1, Glaston will be officially headquartered in Helsinki, Finland. All telephone and fax numbers remain unchanged.

According to information from the company, the announced move from Tampere, Finland, “was actually only on paper.” The company employs approximately 15 people in administrative positions who were stationed primarily in Helsinki.

Glaston Finland Oy (formerly Tamglass and Uniglass Engineering), as well as the Glaston Services business area, continue operating in Tampere with the current office and manufacturing facilities. In Tampere, the company has three facilities and employs approximately 160 persons.

Sale of Vitro America Assets to Sun Capital Completed
The sale of Vitro America’s assets to American Glass Enterprises LLC, an affiliate of private equity firm Sun Capital, closed in June. The auction of Vitro America’s assets took place on June 1.

“We will begin the integration process now that the deal has been completed,” said Ben Thomas, director of strategic marketing for Arch Aluminum and Glass, also part of Sun Capital, on the day of the closing.

As of press time, final details of that integration process have not been finalized, including the name under which the new entity will operate. An objection issued by former parent company Vitro SAB noted that the purchased assets do not include the right to “the name, word, or mark ‘Vitro’ or ‘Vitro America’ … or any variation thereof …” As of press time, www.vitroamerica.com welcomed visitors to ACI Glass Products LLC.

When asked whether the ACI name would brand the company going forward, Alice Dickerson, director of sales and marketing, explained, “The use of the name ACI Glass Products LLC is temporary. It is an established legal entity to be used in the short term, as we transition to a new company name replacing ACI Glass Products, Arch Aluminum and Glass, TGI and United Glass Corp. Our new branding will be introduced in the near future.”

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