Volume 50, Issue 9 - September 2015

Company News

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® Acquires C.R. Laurence

Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® (OBE), a CRH Group company, has acquired C.R. Laurence Co. Inc. (CRL), a distributor of custom hardware and glazing products to the glass and glazing industry. The purchase was made for a total consideration of $1.3 billion, which includes deferred consideration at a net present cost of $86 million–payable over five years. The business will be acquired debt free, and completion of the purchase is anticipated this month.

CRH will finance the transaction using existing financial resources, according to the company.

Los Angeles-based CRL will continue to be independently managed and operated as a subsidiary of OBE and will retain all existing management structures and personnel, according to OBE.

“CRL is a true American success story. [CRL] CEO Don Friese has built an extraordinary organization that has enjoyed exceptional growth,” says Ted Hathaway, CEO of OBE. “I have been impressed with CRL’s leadership and unwavering commitment to the customer. We extend a warm welcome to their talented employees and management team and look forward to capturing unique and compelling synergies together.”

CRL has eight manufacturing/engineering centers and 28 service centers across the U.S. and Canada, and an additional six operations in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Germany, and Australia. The company designs and manufactures a wide range of engineered hardware products required by professional glaziers and glass shops to complete the installation of architectural glass in both commercial and residential markets.

“CRL is proud to be acquired by Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, who we have admired for many years,” says Friese. “As a leader in the glazing industry, it is an honor to be part of this world-class company. We look forward to the opportunity to build upon our strengths and talents to better serve our customers.”

With more than 1,600 employees at 42 locations, CRL serves all of the U.S. and Canada and is gaining a footprint overseas in Western Europe and Australia. The company generated profits before taxes of $51 million and had gross assets of $290 million at the end of 2014. Its products include architectural and shower door hardware, glass installation tools and supplies, and aluminum storefront and door systems.

With 48 locations in North America and 4,500 employees, OBE, which is part of CRH’s Americas Products division, has the largest footprint in the industry, according to the company.

Forecasted CRL sales for 2015 are $570 million, on which EBITDA of $115 million is expected. This excludes annual synergies of $40 million, which are expected to be generated by 2017 from the combination with OBE.

Apple Awarded Another
Structural Glass Design Patent

Apple has ensured yet another one of its glass structures will remain one of a kind for at least 14 years. The electronics giant was awarded a patent for its glass cylinder store entrance design, which was put into life at the company’s Shanghai flagship store. The late Steve Jobs is listed as one of the inventors, along with structural glass engineer James O’Callaghan of Eckersley O’Callaghan and six others.

The company also has patents for its “Glass Lantern” store design in Istanbul; its glassy store designs in Zhongjie Joy City, China, and West Lake, China; as well as its “Glass Cube” flagship store in Manhattan. In addition, it has architectural glass patents for its various glass staircase designs.

Apple is currently building its new headquarters in California, which is utilizing more than 800 oversized façade lites produced by sedak.

Apple was awarded a patent for its glass cylinder store entrance design, which is featured at its Shanghai flagship store.

“CRL is a business with strong growth characteristics and an excellent operational fit with our Building Envelope business in the United States and represents an exciting opportunity for CRH,” says Albert Manifold, CRH chief executive. “In addition to increasing our exposure to the growing non-residential and residential construction markets in the United States, CRL’s strong brand, focus on innovation and growing presence in Europe and Australia, combined with CRH’s international reach, provide the potential for this high-growth business to become a global leader.”

The news came as a surprise for many in the industry.

“I thought, ‘Wow! I didn’t see that coming,’” says Craig Carson, regional preconstruction manager with Alliance Glazing Technologies in Littleton, Colo. “Even though I’m not a buyer of U.S. Aluminum products, I wonder how this will all fit in with their [OBE’s formerly] Vistawall product … how does this fit together with all the different architectural metals [the companies] offer? It’s going to be a wait-and-see thing.”

Also speaking of the announcement, Kelly Schuller, president of Viracon, says in general he believes consolidation is a good thing for the industry so the news strikes him as a positive development.

“It looks like OBE is doubling down on their strategy for packaged selling to glazing subcontractors,” he says. “CRL is a strong brand and the acquisition price certainly appears to reflect that.”

Lyle Hill, president of Keytech North America, and a USGlass/USGNN.com™ columnist/blogger, says his reaction to the news was not unlike that of others in the industry.

“I am going to imagine that, as with many others in the industry, this news comes as a bit of a surprise. I didn't think that CRL was heading in this direction at this time. But I certainly want to congratulate Don Friese and his family. Don is an American success story and someone that I have long looked up to. I am happy for him and his team. It will be interesting to watch as Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope® adds CRL under its fold. It might be a challenge but OBE is an incredible success story of its own and I have to applaud their management team’s ability to think outside the box, which they have done in the past with outstanding results.”

Carson adds, “I go back far enough to remember when CRL was not even considered much of competitor to Sommer & Maca (a company CRL purchased in 2008) and they have grown and grown and done a textbook job of showing how to grow from a little company in Southern California to an international business.”

Speaking of the tremendous amount of consolidation the industry has seen over the past decade, Carson says, “I think from a business standpoint … at some point you’ve got to figure out your exit strategy. Do you go public or do you sell, etc.? And that’s probably one reason for so much consolidation [in the industry].”

Los Angeles-based investment banking firm Greif & Co. was retained by CRL to handle the transaction. Lloyd Greif, the firm’s president and CEO, says the future of CRL was exactly what its CEO Don Friese had in mind.

Breifly. . .

The PPG Industries Foundation is sponsoring nearly $325,000 in undergraduate college scholarships for U.S. students through National Merit Scholarship Corp. in 2015. This includes 53 new four-year scholarships … Demountable Concepts and MyGlassTruck.com have raised nearly $34,000 to date for breast cancer research through its “Nice Rack” campaign. For every glass rack it sells, MyGlassTruck.com makes a donation benefiting the Central and South Jersey Affiliates of Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The campaign began in early September 2011.

“When Don joined CRL in 1961 as a returning GI, he was the company's seventh employee. CRL had one location in Los Angeles and $250,000 in sales. Today, the company he has built a half-century later has 1,700 employees, 42 locations in North America, Europe and Asia and $570 million in sales. No man is immortal, although Don comes pretty darn close. After 55 years in the business, he felt it was time to lay the foundation for the company's transition to new ownership. He will continue to run CRL with the able assistance of his hand-picked-and-groomed team, including president Lloyd Talbert and CFO Arty Feles. Don still works six days a week—yes, six—and he wanted to oversee the smooth succession of CRL while he was still actively engaged in the business one thousand percent.”

Greif adds, “Don selected CRH to be the new owner of CRL—he had many, many choices—because he felt they were most likely to continue the company completely intact and independently managed. He believes Ted Hathaway, CEO of Oldcastle BuildingEnvelope®, is a kindred spirit and shares his vision of the future, one which portends an even greater escalation of CRL’s already strong, double-digit growth rate.”

Lloyd Talbert, president of CRL, also issued a statement about the recent announcement noting that “C.R. Laurence Co. is a true American success story. Most of you who have known us and done business with us over the years know the names ‘CRL’ and ‘Don Friese’ are synonymous. Don will be 75 in October and has built a tremendous business over a legendary career spanning 55 years and counting. We have been working on a plan for several years by which CRL would remain an independent company for many years to come …Don will remain CEO of CRL and CRL will be independently managed and operated as a subsidiary of OBE.”

Talbert adds, “…Many of you have heard me say one of my primary concerns is building a strong glazing industry. By partnering with OBE, I firmly believe we have taken a positive step to further strengthen our industry.”

Bavelloni SpA
Opens New Facility

From left to right, Matteo Rolla, Simona Bavelloni, Stefano Bavelloni, Franco Bavelloni and Dino Bavelloni are the major shareholders of Neptun Srl. The Bavelloni family has no financial stake in the newly established company called Bavelloni SpA.

This month, Bavelloni SpA will begin operating from its new headquarters in Lentate sul Seveso in Monza e Brianza province in Italy. The new facility will house the company’s production divisions and offices.

“We decided to move to the new headquarters in Lentate with the aim of optimizing the spaces, harmonizing the activities and the manufacturing process in these new premises,” says Sergio Valsecchi, chair of Bavelloni’s board. “The new site, state of the art for technological infrastructures and energy consumption reduction, has been built according to the most recent safety standards, and it is located close to the main transport routes.”

Previously the Bavelloni family, which owned the company Z. Bavelloni until 2005 when it was acquired by Kyro Corp., then parent of Tamglass (now Glaston), responded to an announcement by Glaston Group that it was ceding the preprocessing machines division of Glaston Italy to the company’s Italian managers. Glaston Italy was renamed “Bavelloni SpA,” which, according to the Bavelloni family, led to some confusion regarding its relationship with the newly establish company.

The family issued a statement saying, “The Bavelloni family … declares to have no financial stake in the newly established company called Bavelloni Spa, after the separation from the Glaston Group. In spite of being satisfied with the fact that brand of the company it previously owned is still attractive on the glass market, the family confirms its involvement is limited only to the glass machinery manufacturing company Neptun Srl, whose major shareholders are Stefano Bavelloni, Simona Bavelloni and Matteo Rolla, in addition to Mr. Dino and Mr. Franco Bavelloni.”

According to the statement, “the only connection running so far with that company concerns the lease between Glaston/Bavelloni Spa and the real estate company SIBI Spa, relevant to the factories owned by the Bavelloni family.” That contract was scheduled to end September 6.

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