Volume 10, Issue 2 - February 2009

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LEADING NEWS
Serious Acquires Kensington; Plans to Purchase Republic

Serious Materials in Sunnyvale, Calif., has acquired the assets of former Kensington Windows, and has announced that it plans to purchase Republic Windows and Doors.

At press time, Serious planned to reopen the Kensington plant, which closed in October when its parent company, Jancor, filed for bankruptcy, within the next 30 days. Officials from Serious say that they plan to install new equipment at the plant to make super-insulating windows and commercial glass. Kensington is located in Vandergrift, Pa., and previously produced vinyl replacement doors and windows.

“We are committed to getting this plant re-started and back in operation as quickly as possible. We want to get people back to work,” says Kevin Surace, president and chief executive officer of Serious Materials. “While building material companies that make commodities are having a hard time in this downturn, we continue to expand operations and hire more people for our unique energy saving products.”

Serious Materials will rebrand the products from Kensington Windows to Serious Windows immediately.

Surace also has advised DWM magazine that the company plans to purchase Republic Windows and Doors in Chicago, which closed in early December and now is undergoing bankruptcy proceedings.

“We are awaiting approval by the bankruptcy judge and the trustees,” says Surace.

Serious, which serves the commercial market and the retrofit segment of the residential segment and focuses on high R-value energy-efficient products, says the purchase of Republic will help with capacity issues.

“We are sold out—we are completely at capacity. Every month is a record month for us,” says Surace.

He points out that Republic served the retrofit residential market and that their line will work well with the Serious line products, and “we can modify what we need to.”

Surace says the plan is to bring back Republic’s workers over time; he notes that they can’t all be brought back on day one, but he does plan to do so business increases at the Chicago plant.

When asked about Republic customers who moved their business to Echo Windows, and whether they will come back to the company, Surace says, “I’m sure some dealers will stick with the new company and some will come back. But our focus will be to get people into high R-value products.”

Surace also addressed published reports that Richard Gillman, former owner of Republic, took equipment from the Republic plant to his new window company, Echo Windows in Red Oak, Iowa.

“When you have a bank involved, you can’t take things out of there, so that will all have to be figured out. When you walk through the plant you can see lines that are missing,” says Surace. “But that’s between the former owners and the banks who gave them credit. It really doesn’t involve us directly.”

ProVia Purchases Assets of Heartland Building Products
ProVia Door (PVD) in Sugarcreek, Ohio, announced on January 5 that it has purchased the assets of vinyl siding producer Heartland Building Products (HBP) of Booneville, Miss., from Jancor Companies Inc. PVD also has purchased two separate manufacturing facilities in Olive Branch, Miss., and Macon, Miss. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court approved the purchase of HBP assets on January 5 and the transaction was completed shortly thereafter.

Jancor made news in October when the company filed for bankruptcy. In addition to owning Heartland, the company also owned two window companies: Kensington Windows and Survivor Technologies, both of which closed their doors.

Joe Klink, marketing projects coordinator for the company told DWM magazine that PVD looked into the purchase immediately after hearing of news of Jancor closing, and adds that HBP was a PVD distributor that said the company would be “a good fit” for the company. 

“This distributor reaffirmed that the quality of HBP’s products and quality of employees would make it a good fit for the company,” says Klink. He adds that there was already some crossover between HBP distributors and that of PVD. Klink does point out, however, that this does not mean that PVD “now offers vinyl siding.” We want each group to focus on their specific products,” he says, “and we will draw on the expertise of those at Heartland.”

He adds that another reason ProVia took a strong look at the company was due to the Mississippi area in which it was located and the 400 jobs that were lost there.

“We really care about people, and unless you work here that may be hard for people to understand,” he says. 

Ultra Hardware Management Purchases Company from Parent
The management of Ultra Hardware Products LLC in Pennsauken, N.J., has purchased its business from its parent company, Shapes/Arch Holdings LLC. The amount of the transaction, which closed December 31, was not disclosed.

Ultra Hardware president Daniel Carpey led the buy-out, with the assistance of Dajalis Ltd. of Montreal, Canada, a private investment firm owned by Harvey Blatt, and Wells Fargo Business Credit, which provided the credit facility to secure the transaction. “This is something that I have wanted to do for years, and I am happy for our employees, vendors and customers that it has finally happened,” Carpey says. “Ultra Hardware Products has endured a lot this past year, but our team has been able to sustain itself through the storm, not lose market share and, best of all, secure new business for our future.”

He adds, “The economy continues to be a concern for the home improvement, renovations and new construction industries that Ultra Hardware Products services, but our diverse customer base and product lines place Ultra Hardware Products on solid ground.”

Ultra Hardware Products will continue to operate out of its headquarters facility in Pennsauken.

Anglian Home Improvements Purchases Intercept Line 

Anglian Home Improvements, a window manufacturer located in Norwich, England, has purchased a GED Integrated Solutions spacer line to produce Intercept Blackline Warm Edge sealed units for its range of windows.

The deal follows previous acquisitions by Anglian of GED automated lead application tables that produce consistently accurate leaded panels in volume production runs.

The Intercept line replaces one of Anglian’s existing lines.

“Our experience with GED is that their lean-manufacturing efficiencies will no doubt reduce our production costs, save on wastage, and enable deadlines to be met on time,” says Anglian plant director James Wilson. “We have spent a lot of time evaluating warm-edge spacer systems and when you add all the features together, Intercept Blackline stood head and shoulders above everything else.” 

WEBINARS

Download Valuable Industry Data 

Jordan, Knauff & Company has its Fall 2008 Window & Door Industry Update webinar, which includes including slides and audio, available for a free download to DWM readers. The topics covered in the presentation incorporated an overview of the door and window industry, including transactions, expansions, plant closings and recent bankruptcies. Also included is a discussion of current industry trends, the state of the residential and commercial real estate markets and a review of the capital markets as they pertain to the door and window industry. The final section of the presentation covers current trends regarding competition from Chinese companies, including recent import statistics and some of the trends being reported by companies sourcing components from China. www.jordanknauff.com/windoor 

FINANCIAL NEWS
Atrium Finalizes Company Debt Restructure

Atrium Companies Inc. says that it has finalized its debt restructure with each of its major creditor groups. Its balance sheet has been restructured through a capital infusion to reduce overall debt, according to the company, in an effort to improve liquidity and to enable management to guide operations through the slowing economy.

As part of the restructuring, each of Atrium’s creditor groups has agreed to eliminate all financial covenants for the first year and impose only minimum earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) covenant in the following years. These relaxed lender requirements support Atrium’s efforts to work through the housing industry’s present challenge, company officials report.


News from the International Builders’ Show

Approximately 60,000 attendees (44,000 less than last year) participated in the International Builders’ Show held in Las Vegas January 20-23. This was not a great surprise given the current status of the housing market. Many exhibitors say that those who did attend were intent on seeing the newest products (see the upcoming March issue of DWM for all the newest products). 

The show had a slightly slow start on Tuesday but that was to be expected as it opened at the same time as President Obama’s inauguration was taking place. One exhibitor said he was hopeful of things to come.

“I’m hopeful that with this new administration things will get better,” said Todd Woods of DAC Products.

Ultimately, attendees did make their way to the show floor to see the new products and to hear news about various companies. 

While Hurd Windows and Doors had a new product on display, attendees also were interested in the current status of the company. Hurd president Dominic Truniger reported on the show’s first day that the booth was busy, and says people were curious after what Hurd went through this year (the company filed for bankruptcy earlier this year but was acquired recently—see story on page 12 for details). 

“People are impressed with what they see,” says Truniger. “Some new customers we had brought on just prior to the bankruptcy filing were waiting to place more orders to see what happened with the company,” he says. “But they now see that we are back and are doing well under new ownership.”

Truniger reports that the company has been infused with new capital and is passing this message on to its customers. “We now have the best balance sheet in the industry,” he says. “We have no debt and are poised for growth.”

But he also stressed that while the financing has changed, customers are happy to see that no management changes have taken place.

“The same knowledgeable people are here,” says Truniger. “They’ve [attendees have] left here with the feeling that Hurd will be better.”

Another manufacturer attracting attention at IBS was Andersen Windows and Doors. For the first time, the company displayed all three of its brands—Andersen, Eagle Windows and Silverline—in one booth, according to company representative Susan Roeder.

“We have a product in our booth for every single price point,” Roeder says.

With the economy and housing industry on a downswing, much uncertainty surrounds trade shows such as this one-particularly with its focus on the residential market. But companies such as Andersen seemed positive about the turnout on the first day.

“We’ve had a very good response from customers … It’s worth their time and money,” Roeder says.

At Pella, in addition to rolling out a variety of new products, the company helped attendees go back to basics—they had a station where attendees could assemble a window unit.

“People are having fun doing this,” says Pella’s John Mueller. “We wanted to give people an idea of what we do and why we do it. It allows them to see all the details of the window.”

On the supplier side, exhibitors ranged from those offering hardware, screens and even glass, though on the glass side, PPG was the only glass manufacturer in attendance.

On the first day of the show, PPG’s Brad Boone said they “hadn’t had as many window manufacturers stop by as they had hoped.” But even with booth traffic lighter than in previous years suppliers who exhibited said it gave them the opportunity to see their customers who were also exhibiting and vice-versa. For more product news from IBS, see the March issue of DWM magazine. 

COMPANY NEWS
Private Equity Firm Creates New Company to Manage Hurd 

Longroad Asset Management LLC, the private equity firm that had agreed to purchase Hurd Windows & Doors in November, has formed a new company, HWD Acquisition Inc., which will retain Hurd’s assets, including the Hurd brand, as well as the employees and management team of the company. HWD Acquisition will be based in Medford, Wis., where the former Hurd was located, and former Hurd president Dominic Truniger will serve as its president. 

“This ownership change establishes a solid foundation for the future success of the Hurd brand,” says Truniger. “Despite being in an industry that is currently facing far more capacity than demand, the Hurd brand has actually doubled in market share since 2005. Now as part of the Longroad portfolio and newly infused with significant capital, we see even greater opportunities for our future and are confident in our ability to continue growing at a remarkable pace.”

According to Hurd’s incoming chair, Steve Zambito, “The Hurd brand is now backed by one of the strongest balance sheets in the industry.”

Zambito adds that Hurd will be focusing on new product development, and will even pursue further acquisitions. For more on the acquisition see the article on page 14. 

DWM
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