Volume 36, Issue 12, December 2001

NEWSNOW

One Among Five: Despite Downturn Glass Industry Remains Strong
With the exception of five industries, one of which was glass, the nation’s manufacturing sector continued to contract for the 16th straight month, reported the National Association of Purchasing Management (NAPM).

The NAPM says its index of business activity rose to 44.5 in November from 39.8 in October. The association says an index above 50 signifies growth, while an index below 50 shows contraction.

“After absorbing last month’s aftershock of the terrorist attacks, the manufacturing sector showed surprising resilience in November,” said Norbert J. Ore, overseer of the monthly report. Ore said he was encouraged with the results, particularly the new orders component of the index, “which had one of its best-ever increases of 10.5 percentage points.” He added, though, it is too soon to tell whether or not the manufacturers are headed for a recovery. “The manufacturing decline is now in its 16th month, and even with this month’s signs of encouragement, it takes time to build a recovery across the sector,” Ore said.

The other four sectors reporting growth were tobacco, food, apparel and instruments and photographic equipment.

Flour City International Closes United Kingdom Office; Additional Contracts Terminated
Flour City International (FCI), headquartered in Kingsport, Tenn., is in the process of consolidating operations, and has closed two of its offices in the United Kingdom that were associated with Flour City Architectural Metals (U.K.) Ltd. According to a news release, the consolidation will allow the company to concentrate its efforts and assets on the expanding Chinese construction market.
Likewise, FCI has been notified of additional contract terminations (see September 2001 USGlass page 40 for related story). It has recently received notice of cancellation of its contract for the Scottish Parliament project. FCI has also been notified of termination for the First National Bank of Omaha project. According to the news release, the project’s contractor has purchased the inventory of custom curtainwall from FCI to complete the project.

FCI says negotiations with its surety company and other major creditors continue, and it is working with an investment-banking firm to “raise additional working capital.”

Copper Sales Acquires K Metals
Copper Sales Inc. of Anoka, Minn., has acquired K Metals Inc. of Livonia, Mich., as a subsidiary. K Metals is a manufacturer of high-performance architectural metal roof systems and a distributor of flat sheet and slit coil metal products. As the fourth location for Copper Sales Inc., it will now operate under the name UNA-CLAD/K Metals.

National Bank of Egypt to Re-Issue Tender for Egyptian Glass Co.
The National Bank of Egypt has announced its plans to re-issue a tender for the sale of the 70 percent of Egyptian Glass Co. (EGC) held by public sector bodies. Previously, Pilkington, which already holds 10 percent of the company, placed a bid to buy up to 90 percent of EGC (see "GlobalUpdate"). The bid was valid until November 8, but insufficient offers were submitted. 

As of press time, the National Bank of Egypt says it plans to advertise a “fresh tender” for the 70 percent of EGC that is publicly held.

According to a Pilkington official, the non-tender of shares was expected. “We don’t think this reflects on the adequacy of our offer,” said the official. He added that the next steps “depend on the Egyptian government and on other factors such as the state of the 
economy.” 

Wacker Silicones Announces Acquisition of Silmix Inc.
Wacker Silicones of Adrian Mich., has acquired Stow, Ohio-based Silmix Inc., a silicone rubber compounder. According to Dr. Matthias L. Wolfgruber of Wacker, the agreement was based largely upon the strategic value-added services and custom products provided by Silmix.

WackerSilicones Based in Adrian, Mich., Wacker Silicones is a wholly owned subsidiary of Wacker-Chemie.

“The addition of Silmix as a custom compounder of silicone rubber complements the previous acquisition of Precision Silicones Inc. of Chino, Calif.,” said Wolfgruber. “Between the two regional, custom compounders, Wacker has moved the value-added portion of silicone supply closer to the customer. This gives our customers the advantage of receiving silicone compounds customized to their process and with minimal lead time.”

“In addition to the traditional products offered by Silmix, this new association presents customers with greater value products and services than we were able to provide as an independent compounder,” added Bruce O. Bowers, president and chief executive officer of Silmix. “This is an ideal strategic fit that will positively benefit our customers with quality solutions and superior service.”

 

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