What’s News May/June 2023

June 14th, 2023 by Nathan Hobbs

Leading News

Acquisitions March On As Companies Grab for Higher Market Shar

As the market for building products cools under the influence of higher interest rates, acquisition activities have continued, as companies lean on their financial strength to gain market share. Strybuc Industries and Palmer-Donavin both made moves to expand distribution channels—Strybuc by acquiring AA Hulse and Son Distributors, a supplier of builders hardware, and Palmer-Donavin by picking up Diamond Hill Plywood (DHP), a wholesale distributor.

In doors, Fenplast made a move through subsidiary Altek Windows and Doors to acquire ADG Doors and Windows. Officials said the purchase was primarily about gaining capacity for aluminum doors and windows to reach new markets. ODL also made a move on doors, through its acquisition of Tru Tech Doors.

In oversea markets, ASSA ABLOY fulfilled its commitment to grow in Italy by striking a deal to pick up Mottura Serrature di sicurezza Spa (Mottura), an Italian manufacturer of residential armored lock cases and security cylinders. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2023. Platinum Equity also signed an agreement to take over Jeld-Wen’s Australasia business.

Last, but not least, here in the U.S., North American Specialty Laminations (NASL) continued its march for coast-to-coast coverage by acquiring Diversified Manufacturing of California (DMOC)—NASL’s fourth acquisition in 18 months. Post-acquisition, DMOC now falls under the name and ownership of NASL, officials told [DWM], and NASL plans to retain all DMOC employees. The acquisition is expected to give NASL access to customers in the Western U.S. and Mexico, officials said.

The acquisition of Tru Tech is an idea that officials at ODL tossed around for years, if not decades, Jim Oren, ODL’s vice president of business development told [DWM]. “It was a matter of finding the right opportunity with the right people,” he said.

John Careri founded Tru Tech Doors in 1998, with the company celebrating its 25th anniversary on February 28, 2023. Careri now joins the ODL team as executive vice president and president of the door division, where he leads ODL’s door manufacturing and development efforts as the company expands throughout North America. Also seeing opportunity in doors, Quebec-based
Fenplast picked up ADG Doors and Windows in Terrebonne to expand its capacity for aluminum. In March 2023, Fenplast also acquired a minority stake in Solarcom of Quebec, a manufacturer specializing in custom-made aluminum fenestration products for commercial and residential customers.

“These recent acquisitions weren’t meant to increase our geographic territory, but with their aluminum window and door capacities, we are gaining access to other markets with a bright future,” said Sylvain Arbour, corporate marketing director at Fenplast.

Contrarily, for Palmer Donavin, the acquisition of DHP was mainly about geographic footprint, officials said, including five distribution centers in Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas. Employees who worked at Diamond Hill Plywood are now part of the Palmer-Donavin employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), company officials said. DHP locations will continue to operate under the Diamond Hill Plywood name, to provide continuity for local customers.

Awards

[DWM] and USGlass Win Multiple ASBPE Awards

The American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) presented its Mid-Atlantic Azbee awards on April 13 in Washington, D.C. [DWM] and its sister publication USGlass magazine took home a combined four awards. Saundra Hutchison received a silver award in the Opening Page/Spread-Photo category for the Women in Fenestration feature in the May/June 2022 issue of [DWM]. Hutchison also received a bronze award in the Opening Page/Spread Illustration category for a 2022 Glazier Outlook feature in the February 2022 issue of USGlass magazine. The December 2022 issue of USGlass Magazine, featuring its Women in the Glass Industry special section, received the gold award for Single Topic Coverage by a Team, while the April 2022 cover, designed by Dawn Campbell, received a silver award in the Front Cover-Photo category.

The Women in the Industry special section and the USGlass April 2022 cover are also National Azbee winners. Those awards were presented May 11 in Atlanta.

Cutbacks

Schüco USA to Downsize Fabrication Unit in Connecticut

Schüco USA submitted a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) to the Connecticut Department of Labor, announcing it will downsize its fabrication unit in Newington, Conn. According to the notice, the site will retain only its wholesale division, after a downsizing that’s set to take place through the end of 2023. Approximately 95 employees will be affected, company officials said.

Schüco’s human resource manager, Laura Sprague, said the move comes “after several difficult years of business with supply chain interruptions, inflations, geopolitical challenges and unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The WARN notice follows Schüco USA president Attila Arian’s departure announcement. His last day with the company was April 30.

Expansions

WindowRama Opens New Location in Branford, Conn.

WindowRama, a door, window and skylight supplier for homeowners and professionals in the Northeast, has announced the opening of its newest store in Branford, Conn. The location marks the company’s 25th in the Tristate area and the fifth to open in the state of Connecticut.

The new store has a 4,500-sq.-ft. showroom and features full-sized working displays of windows, patio doors, entry doors and skylights from Andersen, Therma-Tru, United Window & Door and MI Windows and Doors. It is the second shop the company has opened this year, following Lawrenceville, N.J.

ABI Set to Bring Window Manufacturing to Abilene

An expansion by ABI Windows is expected to spur a “new industry cluster of window manufacturing” in Abilene, Texas. At least that’s the expectation of the Development Corporation of Abilene (DCOA), which approved an $8.48 million incentive package to enable the project. ABI’s expansion includes a 150,000-square-foot facility that’s valued at $42.5 million. According to DCOA officials, the project is expected to provide 175 full-time jobs, along with an average annual salary of more than $45,000. The project marks the organization’s eighth largest in capital investment in 34 years.

Vinyl Kraft to Invest $2.25M in Facility While Restoring Local Workforce

Legislators and economic development experts in Ohio applauded an announcement by Vinyl Kraft Inc. that it will invest $2.25 million in its Scioto County facility. Ryan Rolfe, the company’s executive vice president, says the investment will double throughput at the facility.

Vinyl Kraft, a manufacturer of vinyl replacement doors and windows, is already the largest manufacturing employer in the county, according to a JobsOhio news release. The new investment will add 73 additional jobs to the company’s roster, all of which will go to “restored citizens.” Vinyl Kraft received a $50,000 JobsOhio Workforce Grant to assist with the
project, with the money set for funding the improvement of worker skills and abilities. The company was also awarded a Job Creation Tax Credit by the Ohio Tax Credit Authority.

The company’s decision to hire rehabilitated citizens for new open positions is two-fold, Rolfe said.

“Part of it is that a reasonable amount of the general labor population here in our area, the Ohio Valley, was hit really hard by the opioid epidemic in the 2000s,” he said. “So, there’s still a lot of shrapnel from that— folks who have dealt with addiction or whose parents have dealt with addiction. We can either ostracize these folks or understand they need a second chance.”

As it turns out, that decision has proved fruitful for both parties. “We made a concerted effort in the mid-2000s to not exclude them from our hiring process,” Rolfe said. “In turn what we’ve found is they make for very loyal employees when you give them that second chance. They appreciate the structure and being held accountable by teammates. It makes a very
good partnership.”

Legal

U.S. and Assa Abloy Reach Abrupt Settlement

A bench trial between the United States and Assa Abloy came to a screeching halt after the two parties reached a deal to settle the case. The agreement marked a stark change in strategy, after seven months of deliberation in which the U.S. staunchly objected to Assa Abloy’s plan to acquire the HHI division of Spectrum Brands, citing concerns over competition. Assa Abloy’s agreement to acquire Spectrum’s HHI division was announced on September 8, 2021, including a purchase price of $4.3 billion. On September 15, 2022, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)
blocked the deal. According to DOJ officials, Assa Abloy and Spectrum are two of the three largest producers of residential door hardware in a $2.4 billion U.S. industry.

According to court documents, the U.S. does not contend that relief obtained through a Final Judgment will fully eliminate the risks cited in its original complaint. “The United States respectfully submits that only a complete injunction preventing the original proposed merger would have eliminated those risks,” officials said, adding, “Alternatively, complete divestitures of all relevant stand-alone business units necessary to fully compete may have diminished those risks significantly. Based on the totality of circumstances and risks associated with this litigation, however, the United States has agreed to the proposed Final Judgment, which includes additional provisions and protections to address some of the concerns identified.”

Assa Abloy is now required to make certain divestitures to Fortune Brands Innovations Inc., or to another entity. A monitoring trustee will track the acquirer’s “success in competing in the market for residential smart locks with the assets divested,” court documents state. In the process, Assa Abloy must take steps to preserve and maintain the full economic viability, marketability and competitiveness of divested assets until the divestitures are deemed complete.

Proposed Final Judgments, or “consent decrees,” are subject to a 60-day comment period, after which the court determines whether a Final Judgment is in the public interest. The deal is expected to close by the end of June 2023, officials for Assa Abloy said.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

Leave Comment