Volume 47, Issue 12 - December 2012

Grey Mountain Partners Aquires Solar Seal; Upgrades Hawkins

Solar Seal (also known as Shaw Glass Co.) of South Easton, Mass., is the most recent acquisition under the umbrella of Consolidated Glass Holdings Inc. (CGH), an affiliate company of Grey Mountain Partners (GMP). Solar Seal, a Guardian Select Fabricator and a PPG Certified Fabricator, designs and manufactures fabricated architectural glass products, specializing in insulating and tempered glass.

“CGH believes there are many synergies Solar Seal has with our family of companies,” says Carole Kagiyama, director of marketing for CGH in an exclusive interview with USGlass magazine. “Solar Seal has a strong reputation for product quality and exceptional service, and by becoming part of the CGH family, Solar Seal will be able to capitalize on the management support of CGH and investment capital of GMP to allow for future growth and direction, and be able to focus on what they do best - design, manufacturing of product and servicing of customer needs, “ she says.

GMP vice president Beth Lesniak concurs. “The acquisition presents substantial opportunity to continue to grow our presence in the architectural glass market, and we plan to further invest in the future of CGH through strategic acquisitions,” she says.

“We are delighted to join the CGH family. We remain dedicated to providing our customers with exceptional products and customer service as we share the breadth of the CGH portfolio to expand our capabilities,” says Solar Seal president Rick Shaw.

The news comes on the heels of the announcement by GMP that it will be investing further in Hawkins Architectural Products of Stafford, Va. Hawkins will receive an estimated $100,000 worth of equipment for its insulating glass line.

The investment is expected to create an additional 25 jobs and establish a second shift at the plant. To date, approximately 45 people work at the 40,000-square-foot facility.

Hawkins, a fabricator and distributor of glass products used in commercial and residential construction, was purchased by GMP from Hawkins Glass Wholesalers LLC earlier this year. The company continues to lease the facility from the previous owner.

“It’s a part of our package for growing,” says Don Powers branch manager of Hawkins. “This will upgrade our insulating line significantly and modernize it as well. We’re looking to add this equipment in the first quarter of 2013. We’ll also be looking to upgrade our software. So overall we’ll probably be looking at a $200,000 to $250,000 investment into the company.

Glaston Sells Albat+Wirsam to Constellation Software
Glaston Corp. and Constellation Software Inc., acting through its wholly owned subsidiary Friedman Corp., have signed a definite and binding agreement for the sale of 100 percent of the shares in Albat+Wirsam Software GmbH (A+W). According to the announcement, the value of the deal is estimated at $23 million (USD) and will be finalized upon closing of the transaction. According to the agreement, part of the purchase consideration is contingent.

“The transaction, when completed, will benefit both Glaston and A+W as both parties can put more strategic focus on their core businesses. For Glaston this means glass processing machinery and related services. [A+W], on the other hand, can focus on growth as part of a bigger software group,” says Arto Metsänen, CEO and president of Glaston.

As a result of the purchase, the A+W business will become part of Constellation’s Friedman Operating Group. A+W will operate as an independent division of Friedman, and will continue to develop, enhance and market its glass and fenestration industry software solutions world-wide.

“The acquisition of [A+W] complements the Friedman Operating Group’s markets and product portfolio,” says Mark Thompson, CEO of the Friedman Operating Group. “The [A+W] product offering will enable us to further grow our already-strong presence in the glass, fenestration and building-products industries.”

Glaston acquired A+W in July 2007 and has operated as a business area within Glaston Group. Closing of the agreement is subject to customary closing conditions including a competition review by the German Federal Cartel Office, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2012, at which time ownership of A+W will transfer to Constellation.

AGC Flat Glass Announces Blue Ridge Plant Closure
A lack of solar glass demand led AGC Glass North America to close its Blue Ridge Plant in Kingsport, Tenn., affecting an estimated 70 jobs. Company spokesman Chris Correnti says AGC is hoping to transition a few of the plant’s employees to its facilities in Church Hill, Tenn., and Abingdon, Va. AGC officials told Blue Ridge plant workers the line’s shutdown had to do with the sluggish economy.

“The solar demand is down globally and the market is saturated with imports, particularly from China both in modules and glass here in North America,” says Correnti. “We just don’t have the customer demand to support operations here anymore. There is no belief that this will change in the next few years given the current marketing conditions and the economy.” Correnti continues to say despite the plant’s closure, the company will now have the ability to better focus on AGC’s long-term goals. “Long term, now we’ll be able to focus on all of our other glass operations and glass markets including our automotive and architectural markets. We also supply other types of solar products so hopefully we will continue to have a place in that marketplace.”

DuPont was named to Science magazine’s list of “Top Employers.” The company was ranked at No. 10, up four spots from last year. The poll is conducted by Science magazine and highlights the best employers in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical and related fields .

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