Volume 50, Issue 10 - October 2015

Company News

OBE, CRL Deal Closes; Friese Provides $80 Million in Bonuses to Employees

In what is believed to be the largest acquisition deal ever between two U.S. glass/metal industry companies, Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE) completed the acquisition of the C.R. Laurence (CRL) Company in early September. OBE funded the sale by making a payment of $1.3 billion to CRL owner Donald Friese. The purchase price of $1.3 billion includes deferred consideration at a net present cost of $86 million–payable over five years. The business has been acquired debt free.

OBE has announced that CRL will continue to be managed and operated independently as a subsidiary of OBE. It will retain all existing management structures and personnel, including Friese, 75, and president Lloyd Talbert. Continuing to be independently managed and operated as a subsidiary of OBE, retaining all existing management structures and personnel, was a notable condition of the acquisition. Friese, however, took it a step further and not only committed to keeping current personnel on board, but also ensured the employees knew they were appreciated.

Upon the company’s sale, Friese sent a thank-you note to each CRL employee who has been with the company at least a year, and attached to the note was a bonus. It was no small gesture, as the bonus payouts total approximately $80 million.

“I am extremely proud of what we have built together over the past 55 years at C.R. Laurence Company. I look at C.R. Laurence as an extended family that has helped me over the years by their unwavering dedication, strong work ethic, and resolute commitment to providing exceptional customer service,” Friese wrote to his employees. “I am so pleased to share this bonus with you as recognition of your individual efforts as a valued member of our team, and to say ‘thank you very much’ for making C.R. Laurence a great success.”

Friese added, “Our job is not done, though. We are so proud to be an integral part of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, and I look forward to your continued efforts to make C.R. Laurence a success and an ever stronger industry leader for future generations.”

Former Cardinal Shower Execs Start New Venture Two industry veterans have taken note of a heightened demand for custom-fabricated tempered glass and intend to meet it.

Greg Abrams and Chris Murphy, former president and vice president, respectively, of Hoskin & Muir Inc., parent company of Cardinal Shower Enclosures and Cardinal Commercial Products, have started a company called 310 Tempering in the Louisville, Ky., area.

The new company has purchased high-end tempering equipment to be housed in its 100,000-plus-square-foot facility in Jeffersontown, Ky., where it will temper glass for shower enclosures and other custom-fabricated applications such as glass railings, entrances and interior partitions.

“Our goal will be to provide high-quality products mixed with great customer service,” says Abrams. “We intend to pay special attention to understanding our capacity so our quality control does not lack during periods of growth.”
310 Tempering plans to create 30 jobs with the opening of the facility this year and looks to add another 120 employees within the next five to 10 years.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority has approved preliminarily 310 for tax incentives up to $1.5 million through its business investment program. In addition, the company is eligible to receive resources from the Kentucky Skills Network.

According to Abrams, the new company will be one of three tempering companies within a 50-mile radius and will be “specializing in custom orders with precise fabrication needs.”

Special-Lite to
Purchase Omega

Decatur, Mich.-based Special-Lite Inc. announced it will purchase the Omega Door Frame Products business from Architectural Builders Hardware Inc. of Itasca, Ill. Omega manufactures aluminum interior glass framing used in interior office construction.

Terms of the sale and size of the acquired business were not released.

“We are excited to acquire a company that has built an outstanding reputation for quality products and customer service which are consistent with Special-Lite’s values,” says Henry L. Upjohn II, CEO of Special-Lite.

Bayer MaterialScience Gets a New Name

Bayer MaterialScience is now operating under a new name—Covestro. The producer of high-performance polymers for the construction and automotive industries is now legally and economically independent, but will remain a subsidiary of Bayer AG. The parent company hopes to spin off Covestro by mid-2016 to concentrate exclusively on its life-sciences businesses.

Covestro is managed by a four-member board of management chaired by CEO Patrick Thomas and including Frank H. Lutz (finance, labor director), Dr. Klaus Schaefer (production and technology) and Dr. Markus Steilemann (innovation).

The Covestro group has 30 production sites around the globe and employed approximately 14,200 people at the end of 2014.

WWS Announces Investment, Management Changes

Phoenix-based Western Window Systems (WWS) has received an investment from PWP Growth Equity, a private equity fund affiliated with Perella Weinberg Partners. The investment makes Perella Weinberg Partners the majority owner of Western Window Systems. PWP Growth Equity is partnering with Western’s CEO Scott Gates and his current management team for the transaction. Jason Funk and Scott Leach, previously executives at Western, have retired from the company.

“PWP Growth Equity brings significant value to Western Window Systems, including their impressive track record of success with businesses in the building products and services sectors,” says Gates. “We look forward to partnering with the PWP Growth Equity team as we continue to pursue aggressive growth opportunities and further serve our customers.”

As part of the investment, PWP Growth Equity co-heads David Ferguson and Chip Baird, as well as managing director John McKee, will join Western Window’s board of directors.

PWP Growth Equity has invested into Western Window Systems and is partnering with Western CEO Scott Gates.

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