What’s News March/April 2023April 12th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs
Jeld-Wen and Masonite Both Report Plant Closing
While financial reporting in the first months of 2023 brought mostly positive news, two companies have entered restructuring plans resulting in closings. Jeld-Wen Holdings Inc. announced it will close a manufacturing facility in Atlanta, spreading production across existing locations in Florida, Ohio and Texas instead. Meanwhile, Masonite Corp. announced it will close a door fabrication plant in Stockton, Calif., displacing 100 or more employees. Filings made with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) reveal that both closures represent plans aimed at optimizing operations.
“While these decisions are difficult, we are taking steps to simplify and strengthen the company, which includes optimizing our operations network to better compete in the market we serve,” a representative of Jeld-Wen who requested not to be identified told [DWM]. “We value the contributions of our employees and have provided those affected with a competitive separation package and outplacement services to help provide a smooth transition.”
According to an SEC filing, the company expects to realize annual estimated cost savings of approximately $11 million. The plan is expected to be “substantially completed” by the end of the third quarter of 2023.
In early March, [DWM] confirmed Masonite’s plans to close its Stockton, Calif.-based facility. In a notification letter sent by senior counsel Donald Tyler to California’s Workforce Services Division, the company said the closure is expected to be permanent, attaching the blame to “a decrease in demand in the housing market.”
All employees had been notified and, “We remain committed to supporting our Stockton employees and providing a seamless experience for our customers through the transition,” Lori Conrad, Masonite’s director of external communications, told [DWM].
Operations will be phased out beginning in April 2023, ceasing by May 5, 2023, according to the company’s notice. Officials say workers will continue to be employed through at least the May 5 date, while being phased out through May 31, 2023.
According to a recent SEC filing, in December 2022 the company implemented a plan to improve overall business performance, including optimization of its manufacturing capacity, involving “specific plants in the North American residential segment.” Ultimately the company expects to increase its annual earnings and cash flows by approximately $15 million
to $20 million.
In a 10K report filed with SEC for the fiscal year ended January 1, 2023, officials for Masonite cited “continued macro-economic conditions of high inflation and rising interest rates,” as primary culprits, describing the current housing market as “volatile.” The filing also mentioned increases in the number of multi-family starts, while just 10% of the company’s sales worldwide go to non-residential sectors. The closure in Stockton marks Masonite’s second in six months, including another facility in Walkerton, Ind., where it shed up to 84 jobs. When asked if additional closures are on the way, the company failed to comment.
Andersen to Manufacture in Georgia
Andersen Corp. plans to develop a new facility in Henry County, Ga., where officials say the company will produce its Renewal by Andersen line of replacement products. The new location marks Andersen’s first manufacturing site in the state, alongside a distribution center in Douglasville and an Andersen Windows and Doors office in Marietta. According to company officials, operations and production technologies in Henry County will mimic those deployed at its Cottage Grove, Minn., and Goodyear, Ariz., locations, requiring 900 new employees.
The $420 million investment reflects confidence in the remodeling market and the company’s Renewal by Andersen division, a representative tells [DWM].
Construction is slated for 2023, with operations expected to launch in 2025.
WindowRama Opens New Location in Lawrenceville
WindowRama, a door, window and skylight supplier for homeowners and professionals in the Northeast, has opened a new store location in Lawrenceville, N.J. The store marks the company’s 24th in the Tristate area and the eighth to open in New Jersey.
It spans 4,350 square feet and features full-sized working displays of windows, patio doors, entry doors and skylights from Andersen; Therma-Tru; United Window & Door; MI Windows and Doors; VELUX Skylights; and Supreme Skylights.
SRS Expands in Ohio and Kentucky with Acquisition of Marsh
SRS Distribution Inc. (SRS) announced it has acquired Marsh Building Products Inc., a distributor of residential and commercial building products.
Headquartered in Fort Thomas, Ky., Marsh was founded in 1989 by brothers Ken and Mike Middleton and is run today by Patrick McNickle, president. The company operates out of eight facilities across Ohio and Kentucky and currently employs a team of approximately 130. McNickle will continue to lead his team under the Marsh banner, “ensuring continuity and consistency for customers, suppliers and employees,” SRS officials said.
Boise Cascade Adds Door Shop In Kansas City
Boise Cascade announced it will open a new facility in Kansas City, where the company plans to produce pre-hung doors. The 150,000-sq.-ft. location marks its 10th door shop, where officials say they will lean on existing partners to produce interior and exterior products manufactured by Therma-Tru, Simpson and Steves and Sons.
The new facility is expected to begin production in June 2023.
Elevate Halts Purchase of Kentucky Facility
While inflation and associated market conditions have thrown a wrench into plans by Elevate Windows and Doors to purchase a building in Hopkinsville, Ky., the company remains “100% committed” to entering the Kentucky-Tennessee corridor, says CEO James Gresham. Gresham says Elevate is currently pursuing other options, such as leasing space—a move
that would still give the company a foothold in a market in which it sees opportunity.
At the end of September 2022, Elevate announced that it would invest more than $16 million into the purchase of a 100,000-square-foot facility in Hopkinsville. Gresham says economic conditions resulted in the prudent decision to initially “wade into the shallow end” instead, by leasing.
Cases Surface Over Record Keeping and Failure to Pay Overtime
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division recovered $5,081 in back wages and $5,081 in liquidated damages for nine employees at Window World of Southwest Virginia Inc. in Wythevillle, Va.
The government determined that the employer, which installs doors, windows and siding for homeowners throughout southwest Virginia, did not pay window installers the proper overtime wages, paying them instead at straight-time rates. Window World of Southwest Virginia also denied workers the required rate of time-and-one-half for hours over 40 in a work-week and kept inaccurate records of total daily and weekly hours worked, violating the Fair Labor Standards Act.
In Alabama, a former employee of Jeld-Wen is suing the company on similar charges. The company is accused of failing to pay the plaintiff at one and a half times their regular salary rate for overtime work and failing to maintain accurate records and documentation.
According to court documents filed by the plaintiff, the former employee worked at Jeld-Wen as a payroll administrator and human resources generalist from August 2021 to the end of September 2022. The plaintiff alleges that while they were compensated for some of the overtime hours worked, some of their duties were performed entirely off the clock. The plaintiff alleges that they were instructed to perform some of their work from home and that the company did not record all of the overtime hours spent working off-site. They also allege that no pay was received for
WDMA and Fenestration Canada Agree to Collaborate
Officials for the Window & Door Manufacturers Association (WDMA) and Fenestration Canada (FenCan) announced a formal agreement to collaborate. By teaming up on cross-border policy issues, officials say they believe both associations can achieve better and greater results for their members.
“WDMA and FenCan have always had a great working relationship, but we are excited to formalize our efforts and deploy the combined influence of both organizations in the policy arena,” said Michael O’Brien, WDMA president and CEO.
Stéphane Labelle, Fenestration Canada’s executive director, said the collaboration represents a “unique opportunity” for both organizations to pool their areas of expertise. “By working together, we can better overcome challenges, drive innovation, and promote the interests of manufacturers and stakeholders across the fenestration sector,” Labelle said.
Russia Hit with 200% Tariffs on Aluminum Imports
The Biden administration announced in March a 200% tariff on all imports of Russian-made aluminum, adding to increased tariffs on 100 Russian metals, minerals and chemical products worth around $2.8 billion. White House officials say the U.S. will also increase costs for aluminum smelted or cast in Russia to enter the U.S. “in order to counter harm to the domestic aluminum industry, which is being squeezed by energy costs due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai says that under the authority of the Suspending Normal Trade Relations with Russia and Belarus Act, the tariff rates on most metals and metal products will double from 35% to 70%.
“These actions are carefully calibrated to put economic pressure on Russia while minimizing costs to U.S. consumers,” says Tai.
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