Volume 47, Issue 9 - September 2012

Industry Sees Glass Price Increases Ranging from 5 to 15 Percent

The glass industry recently has seen a number of price increases coming from manufacturers and fabricators, many of which took effect last month.

Among these, PPG Industries instituted a 5 percent price increase on its Sungate 500; 7 percent on its Starphire ultra-clear glass; 9 percent on its clear glass, Atlantica, Azuria, Caribia, Graylite II and Pacifica glasses, all Vistacool coated glasses, and all Solarcool coated glasses; 12 percent on its Solarbronze, Solargray, Solarblue and Solexia glasses, and 12 cents per square foot on its Solarban 60 and Solarban 60VT on 6-mm clear glasses. The PPG price change took effect on August 6.

Company officials have attributed the hikes to “significant increases in the cost of raw materials associated with the production of [its] glass substrate products, as well as labor, healthcare and transportation-related costs.”

“PPG has undertaken numerous operational initiatives to mitigate the impact of inflationary costs, but they continue to outpace the improvement efforts and pricing trends in the marketplace,” wrote Mark Seeton, director of sales and marketing for Pittsburgh-based PPG Flat Glass in a letter that went out to customers. “As a result, we find it necessary to increase pricing on several of our primary glass products.” PPG officials declined to comment further on the changes.

Guardian Industries has notified its North American customers of several increases as well, which took effect on August 1. The company increased the price of its tempered products by 15 percent; all clear, tinted and textured glass products by 11 percent; UltraWhite low-iron and electronics grade glass products by 11 percent; all SunGuard, ClimaGuard and DiamondGuard coated and SatinDeco acid-etched products by 9 percent; and all mirror and laminated products by 7.5 percent.

“As I’m sure many of you are experiencing, costs continue to escalate, especially in the areas of freight, labor, raw materials and utilities,” wrote Bill Widmann, vice president of North American sales and marketing for the Auburn Hill, Mich.-based company, in a letter to customers. “Despite aggressive efforts, we have not been able to fully absorb these costs.”

Viracon also has raised prices on a number of products. Kevin Anez, director of marketing and product management, advised USGlass magazine that the pricing hikes stem from increases it has seen. “We can confirm that there is a price increase,” says Anez. “Basically our suppliers are asking for price increases and we’re absorbing [what] we can.”

Viracon’s Statesboro, Ga., Facility Re-Opens
Viracon re-opened its Statesboro, Ga., manufacturing facility last month, after making approximately $6 million in previously announced upgrades at the facility over the past six months (see related story in July USGlass, page 13).

The renovation of the Statesboro facility included 16 specific capital upgrades, and all major pieces of equipment received extensive maintenance. Most notably, the coating process was streamlined, according to the company.

The building’s roof was also replaced and the HVAC system was updated to yield a more controlled environment. Additionally, approximately 90 skylights have been installed to enhance natural lighting in specific areas of the factory, and to reduce energy usage during the day.

Viracon’s Statesboro facility is bringing back its workforce back in three phases and is scheduled to complete this in late September.

Benada Aluminum Files for Chapter 11
Benada Aluminum Products, an extruder based in Sanford, Fla., filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida. The company continues to operate its business and manage its properties, according to court documents.

The company was formed as a Florida limited liability corporation on June 15, 2011, to purchase the assets of two aluminum products manufacturing companies: Florida Extruders International and Benada Aluminum of Florida Inc. (BAF).

The Chapter 11 filing cites weak sales that have led to cash flow problems and have required the company to purchase inventory cash on demand from all of its suppliers as a contributor to the filing. Additionally, the petition cites the fact that the company has faced an “impending inability to purchase raw materials for the past two months.” The largest industry unsecured creditors, according to court documents, include American Douglas Metals ($25,800.06) and Hydro Aluminum ($1,361,295.77).

PPG Industries’ coil and extrusion coatings business has announced that six members of the Nucor Buildings Group (NBG) have achieved PPG Certified Metal Panel Program (PPG/CMPP) accreditation. The six companies are American Buildings Co. and Architectural Metal Systems, both of Eufaula, Ala.; CBC Steel Buildings in Lathrop, Calif.; Gulf States Manufacturers in Starkville, Miss.; Kirby Building Systems in Portland, Tenn.; and Nucor Building Systems, which operates plants in Waterloo, Ind., Swansea, S.C., Terrell, Texas, and Brigham City, Utah … Research Frontiers Inc. has announced that it has raised $1.75 million in new equity capital from a group of accredited investors. The investors received 589,227 shares of Research Frontiers common stock at a price of $2.97 per share, which was the closing market price of Research Frontiers stock on July 30, 2012, the day the transaction was priced ... Reamstown, Pa.-based Dorma has acquired Florida Door Controls Inc. and its offices in Tampa, Fla., and Orlando, Fla. ... Tenex Capital Management, a New York-based private equity firm focused on middle market special situations investments, has acquired NAP GLADU, a manufacturer of cutting tools and services for the metal, wood and advanced materials industries in North America.

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