Volume 46, Issue 4 - May 2011


United Glass Corp. Sold to Sun Capital
Louisville, Ky.-based United Glass Corp. (UGC), which began in 1999 as a consolidation of ten companies, has been sold to private investment firm Sun Capital Partners Inc. A representative at UGC Pittsburgh said at this time it’s “business as usual” and orders are not affected. According to industry sources, there were few options other than a sale or bankruptcy.

“We look forward to working with Sun Capital to strengthen our operations, which will benefit our valued customers and suppliers,” said Lawrence O’Connell, UGC chair and chief executive officer, in a statement issued by Sun Capital. According to the statement, O’Connell will continue to work with UGC in an advisory role.

Forming UGC was considered by some to be a significant move at a time when consolidation “roll-ups” were in vogue. Managed by Sterling City Capital in Houston, the consolidation rolled ten companies under one umbrella. The initial companies were: the Glasswerks Group in Los Angeles, Perilstein Distributing Corp. of Pittsburgh, PDC Glass of Detroit, Hartung Glass Industries and Lami Glass Products of Seattle, Thad Ziegler Glass Inc. of San Antonio, TFC Inc. of Louisville, Ky., Tempered Glass Inc. of Atlanta, Louisville Plate Glass of Louisville, and Mid Ohio Tempering of Columbus, Ohio.

Industry sources tell USGlass that in forming UGC the goal was to eventually go public and become part of an organization that would offer every trade service to the construction industry. However, it was not long after its formation that UGC began to crumble. It began in 2000 when the Thad Ziegler Co. bought itself back and exited the roll-up. Randy Steinberg, president of Glasswerks, followed suit in 2002, buying back the Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix operations. The Northern California Glasswerks locations continued under the Hartung name until 2004 when Nick Sciola, president of Hartung Glass Industries Inc., bought back those operations. In 2009 Bill Stone, president of Louisville Plate Glass, bought back his company as well.

Most recently, UGC closed Mid Ohio Tempering (see November 2010 USGlass, page 12). At the time O’Connell commented that the decision was made to improve the operating efficiencies of all UGC branches.

Some of those who were part of the original UGC are hopeful for the organization’s future.

“We built a great organization at UGC,” Stone says. “Hopefully the new owners will carry on our strategy in the best interests of all concerned.”

“The UGC group is another example of a solid management team caught up in a construction industry depression,” Sciola adds. “Larry O’Connell is a first-class businessman with extremely high integrity, but just needed some more time for the industry to participate in the long overdue recovery. This acquisition will not change the industry and Sun will benefit in the long run.”

Guardian to Expand Float Plant in S.C.
Guardian Industries Corp. will expand its current operations in Chester County, S.C. The $45 million investment in its float glass plant in Richburg, S.C., is expected to generate 50 new jobs.

The plant will install an advanced technology coating machine that the company says will enable the facility to produce highly energy-efficient glass for commercial and residential buildings.

“This new investment at Guardian’s glass plant in Richburg will create new manufacturing jobs in our state,” says U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “It’s also the type of investment that helps make the U.S. less dependent on foreign energy sources, while saving consumers money on their energy bills, and promoting a cleaner environment.”

Arch No Longer Manufacturing Mirror; Will Continue to Fabricate
Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. in Tamarac, Fla., will no longer manufacture mirror, having ceased production of its Fort Pierce, Fla., mirror line at the end of March. The company had stopped producing mirror at its Bettendorf, Iowa, plant last November.

Ben Thomas, director of strategic marketing for Arch, told USGlass that while the company may no longer be manufacturing mirror, it will continue in the mirror market.

“Arch will very much be staying in the mirror business,” Thomas says. “Arch is one of the largest suppliers of fabricated mirror in the country and we continue to see this as an opportunity to be able to provide a complete package to our growing fabricator base. We will be buying our mirror from fully integrated suppliers and doing any fabrication required.”

CRL Opens New Branch in San Diego
C.R. Laurence has opened a new branch in San Diego. The new facility features a 30,000-square-foot stocking warehouse and a large display room, bringing inventories and service closer to customers in San Diego, Imperial and Riverside Counties, Calif.

According to the announcement, the product display area features many of the company’s architectural products, including all-glass entrance door hardware, shower hardware, railing systems, display hardware and more.

The branch is managed by Doug Monroe, Ruben Gonzalez and Nelly Medina, all experienced CRL personnel. The staff also can accommodate the need of Spanish speaking customers.

briefly ...
Quanex Building Products Corp. completed its previously announced acquisition of Edgetech I.G. on April 1 (see January/February 2011 USGlass, page 6). David Petratis, chief executive officer of Quanex, commented, “Integration is on-track and progressing well, which will ensure a seamless experience for our combined customer base”

Binswanger Glass has launched a Spanish version of its mainline website, www.binswangerglass.com. The new website is the first part of a three-part revamping of its online efforts

Technoform Glass Insulation and Technoform Bautec announced that their respective quality management systems, inclusive of design, have been certified to ISO 9001:2008 standards.

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