Volume 50, Issue 2 - February 2015

IndustryNews

Business is Back for U.S. Aluminum Extruders Due to Tariffs on Imports

A little more than four years ago the Department of Commerce (DOC) imposed antidumping and countervailing duties on imports of aluminum extrusions from China. According to one study, it’s been so far, so good for the U.S. extruders, though the results are far from over. The Aluminum Extruders Council (AEC) recently commissioned Ducker World Wide to explore the impact the DOC’s trade order has had on the industry.

According to Nick Limb, managing principal of Ducker, the study’s findings show that Chinese imports peaked at more than 20 percent of domestic demand in the latter part of 2009 and early part of 2010. However, they “fell rapidly to less than 1 percent after the (trade) orders took effect in October 2010.”

“With the exception of a small number of niche extruders, a majority of domestic suppliers experienced a 10- to 20-percent growth attributable to the return of customers that previously purchased from Chinese extruders,” adds Abey Abraham, Ducker project director.

While conducting trade data analysis, Ducker looked at areas such as pounds imported, prices on pounds and how those shipments deteriorated due to the price increase of the tariffs. They also conducted interviews with end users and customers on an anonymous basis, asking if they would go back to Chinese extruders if the tariffs went away.

“They were essentially able to draw a supply and demand curve,” says Jeff Henderson, director of operations at AEC. “… And they confirmed that what really drove the Chinese market share was the price.”

According to Henderson, the report shows that certain sectors and applications of the aluminum industry were more vulnerable than others, including the residential sector. He says extruders that serve niche markets, such as storefronts and curtainwalls, were at a medium-to-high risk.


A majority of domestic extruders experienced 10- to 20-percent growth thanks to tariffs on Chinese imports.

One of the goals of the study was to gain a reading of the political pulse in regards to the trade orders, as the U.S. aluminum extrusion industry has found itself more involved in the lobbying and trade committee arenas of late.
Henderson cautions that the industry must remain “vigilant,” as Chinese extruders continue to respond “like all competitors would.”
“If a U.S. extruder believes it is not vulnerable to Chinese competitors because they haven’t lost business in the past, they should reconsider their strategy and current market share,” he says. “It is clear that Chinese extruders are focused on identifying avenues to penetrate the U.S. market and gain market share. A major takeaway from customer interviews conducted is the right price and product will win business in the future.”


"They were essentially able to draw a supply and demand curve … and they confirmed that what really drove the Chinese market share was the price."

—Jeff Henderson, director of operations at AEC

Kuraray Sells European PVB Business

Kuraray Co. Ltd. will sell its European PVB film business, formerly owned by European subsidiaries of DuPont, to GVC S.A. The transaction, which includes a production facility in Uentrop, Germany and a research and development center in Mechelen, Belgium, is set for approximately $15.2 million.

According to a release, it includes “adjustments for net cash/debt balance and net working capital upon closing to GVC S.A., which is a subsidiary company of GVC Holdings Inc.”

The closure is also conditional upon the European Commission’s approval, and the transaction was undertaken to comply with the European Commission’s conditional approval of Kuraray’s acquisition of the Dupont’s Glass Laminating Solutions/Vinyls business, which closed in June 2014.
Kuraray, which produces Trosifol brand interlayers, is selling its European PVB films business, formerly owned by Dupont, to GVC S.A.

AGC Technovation Centre Inaugurated in Belgium

The AGC Technovation Centre, serving AGC Glass Europe, was inaugurated by the King of Belgium in Gosselies. According to the company, the AGC Technovation Centre brings together 250 researchers, technicians and engineers in “brand-new premises focused on improving the glassmaking processes and developing new glass products for the construction and automotive industries.”

“This facility will promote the emergence of new glass solutions for our customers while speeding up their development time, thus giving our research even greater impact,” says Jean-François Heris, president and CEO of AGC Glass Europe.

Glaston Sells Lines to Cardinal Glass Industries and European Glass Group

Finland-based Glaston Corp. closed deals for a number of tempering machines in late 2014. Lines were sold to both Cardinal Glass Industries and European Glass Group.

According to Glaston, Cardinal purchased the FC500 and double chamber FC1000 lines, and says the deal is worth approximately $4.3 million USD.

“This deal is a continuation of our fruitful collaboration, which from the beginning has been based on technological leadership, ensuring the uncompromised quality of the final product,” says Arto Metsänen, Glaston’s president and CEO. “The Glaston FC1000 flat tempering line, presented at the glasstec fair in October, represents the most advanced technology and is the right solution for the customer who supplies glass for demanding façade solutions as well as large quantities of low-emissivity insulat[ing] window units.”

Likewise, European Glass Group purchased two FC500 lines. One of the furnaces, according to the company release, is the biggest FC500 sold, measuring approximately 130 inches by 331 inches.

“European Glass has always sought to lead the way in the U.K. glass industry and we continue to invest in cutting- edge technology to keep us in the forefront of glass manufacture,” says Mick Johal, owner of European Glass Group. “These latest investments in our … operations, together with freehold acquisition of our major new site in Cheadle, Manchester, endorses our position at the top of the U.K. glass business.”

World Flat Glass Demand Continues to Grow

T
hrough 2018, the architectural market is projected to remain the largest source of demand for flat glass, according to a forecast study by the Freedonia Group. However, the fastest growth will be seen in other markets, driven by rising manufacturing of higher-value products such as electronic displays.

On the whole, global demand for flat glass is forecasted to advance 8.6 percent annually to 11.5 billion square meters in 2018, valued at $112 billion, according to the report.

The forecast predicts the pace of gains will accelerate relative to the 2008-2013 period, with the largest improvements expected in developed European countries, as well as North America. However, China is expected to remain the world’s fastest-growing market for flat glass through 2018.

According to the study, North America and Europe will continue to trail the global average in flat glass demand through 2018, although recovery from the recessionary conditions seen over the 2008-13 period will lead to stronger performances going forward.

China will continue to dominate flat glass production, of which the country currently produces roughly half. At the end of 2013, there were 432 float lines active worldwide, 243 of which were located in China. The Asia/Pacific region holds by far the largest regional market for flat glass, accounting for 54 percent of worldwide demand in value terms in 2013.
At the end of 2013, there were 432 float lines active worldwide, 243 of which were located in China.

Acquisition News

Tecnoglass Acquires Glasswall Assets

The United States currently accounts for more than half of Colombia-based glass company Tecnoglass’ revenue, so it only made sense for it to establish a manufacturing base in the country—something it had lacked until now.

Tecnoglass, headquartered in Barranquilla, Colombia, acquired the assets of Miami-based impact door and window manufacturer Glasswall, including a 160,000-square-foot manufacturing and office facility in Miami, manufacturing and assembly equipment and Miami-Dade Notice of Acceptance (NOA) for products manufactured and sold by Glasswall.

“The acquisition is very important strategically for various reasons,” Tecnoglass CEO Jose M. Daes told USGlass magazine. “It gives us local manufacturing capabilities, [and] speeds up the processes of maintenance and replacement pieces, which translates into better service and client satisfaction.”

“We are committed to the U.S. market, which is today 60 percent of our sales; therefore we are making the moves to grow, but in an orderly fashion.” Daes adds that the company will now have a distribution center for residential windows, a sector in which he says it was lacking.

According to the company, total consideration for the transaction consisted of $4 million in Tecnoglass stock and a 15-year, $5 million term loan that Tecnoglass secured to acquire the facilities.

Glasswall was founded in 2002 by real estate developer Ugo Colombo, who previously founded CMC Group in 1986. CMC Group is a real estate development company focused on commercial, residential and retail properties and has developed more than 10 million square feet of commercial and luxury residential real estate, according to a release.

Tecnoglass currently plans to supply impact-resistant doors and windows for four CMC Group projects over the next three years. Daes says Tecnoglass has Colombo’s “firm commitment” on the projects and anticipates entering an initial agreement with CMC Group by mid-2015.

Tecnoglass will continue to manufacturer at its 2.3-million-square-foot facility in Colombia, though its newfound ability to “perform select manufacturing and light assembly in the U.S.,” Daes says, “will enhance client service and create certain cost efficiencies.”

Bohle AG Announces
Acquisition of Lixon

Bohle AG acquired Ransart, Belgium-based cutting wheel producer Lixon sprl, the second-largest supplier of the industry sector in Europe. Negotiations regarding the acquisition of all company assets, including machines, customer data, trademark rights, patents and production goods—not including a succession in title—were conducted at glasstec 2014.

“With the takeover of Lixon’s business activities, Bohle reinforces its leading position in cutting technology for float or automotive glass producers and for companies which process glass at an industrial scale,” says Christoph Schmidt, vice president of sales at Bohle AG.

Schmidt says the first priority is to guarantee the uninterrupted supply of existing Lixon customers with cutting technology in order to ensure a smooth production flow.

“The development and production of cutting wheels is the core of Bohle as a company,” says Schmidt. “We have [understood] processes and markets for more than 90 years. The former Lixon customers will benefit from our longstanding experience and performance.”

Brazil Levies Antidumping
Duties on Float Glass Imports


The Brazilian Foreign Trade Chamber (Camex) made antidumping levies on float glass imports from the United States and five other countries definitive. Provisional duties placed on the imported glass in July are now permanent. According to the official resolution document, the duties were placed on imports from China, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and Mexico, in addition to the U.S.

Chinese companies dominate the list of producers and exporters in the duties, though the list includes six U.S. companies: Cardinal FG, Guardian Industries, Pilkington North America Inc., PPG Industries Inc., AGC Flat Glass North America Inc. and Demais.

The duties apply to colorless float glass with a thickness of two millimeters to 19 millimeters and will be applied for up to five years, according to the resolution.

Specific Duties Per U.S. Company for Colorless Float Glass
With a Thickness of Two Millimeters to 19 Millimeters

(applied for up to five years)
Cardinal FG
$97.01
Guardian Industries Corp.
$366.78
Pilkington North America Inc.
$366.78
PPG Industries Inc.
$366.78
AGC Flat Glass North America Inc.
$177.81
Demais
$366.78

briefly...

Representatives from more than 245 manufacturers participated in this year’s “Cefla Live” held late last year at the company’s headquarters in Imola, Italy. According to Cefla, more than 30 companies—representing manufacturers, coatings and
production equipment suppliers—
attended, taking the opportunity to test products on their machines.

Production demonstrations were included as part of Cefla’s open house in Italy.


USG
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