Volume 44, Issue 2 - February 2009

News Now

From Manufacturers to Fabricators, Glass Companies See Closings

A down economy and slowing commercial construction market have begun to take their toll on the glass industry, as several industry companies have announced closings. Among them are the following:

PPG

Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries announced in December that it is discontinuing its PRC insulating glass sealants business. The company cited declining demand in the North American residential construction market as the primary reason for this decision.

Production will cease by March 15, 2009, at the Gloucester City, N.J., insulating glass sealants manufacturing facility, which employs approximately 29 people.

In addition, a planned shutdown of a production line in Mount Zion, Ill., was moved from the spring of 2009 to December 31, 2008. The shutdown eliminated a total of 75 jobs at the plant. 

AGC Flat Glass North America

AGC Flat Glass has laid off nearly three-dozen people at its Greenland plant in Hawkins County, Tenn., according to a January 2 article from TriCities.com.

In April 2008, the company eliminated 300 positions at its two locations in the Tri-Cities area alone, as part of a company-wide overhaul (see May 2008 USGlass, page 16). The latest lay-offs complete the initial changes from last spring. 

Cardinal

Cardinal IG let go approximately 70 of the 330 workers at its Tomah, Wis., insulating glass (IG) operation in mid-January. A statement issued by the glass manufacturer attributed the action to the recent housing bubble and troubles that have impacted the residential housing market, resulting in reduced demand for IG units. 

The company added that there was a possibility of employees “being recalled as demand dictates.”

Viracon

On January 5, glass fabricator Viracon announced a reduction of approximately 250 positions at the headquarters facility in Owatonna, Minn., 15 percent of the Owatonna workforce. The announcement came after Viracon informed employees at meetings in December that workforce adjustments would be necessary in response to the changing economic environment.

According to a statement issued by the company, “Every effort was made to avoid a workforce reduction, including idling the three production facilities for brief periods of time.”

The statement further noted that as of mid-January, all three Viracon plants were running at full-time production.

Oldcastle Glass

Oldcastle Glass has shuttered several facilities. 

A distribution center in Schofield, Wis., closed on January 23. Orders placed after this date will be shipped from the Wausau facility. 

A representative with the Schofield facility would not comment on the closing. A representative with the Oldcastle facility in Butler, Wis., confirmed that that facility too will close, but would not disclose any further information.

A plant in Louisville, Ky., closed on January 9. The Louisville location fabricates a number of glass types, including several decorative glass products. Orders will be shipped from Indianapolis and Perrysburg, Ohio, facilities.

Representatives from the glass fabricator’s headquarters in Santa Monica, Calif., were unavailable for comment at press time.

Glaston 

Glaston Finland has announced that it will have temporary lay-offs of its workforce, a total of 200 employees, for an average of 4 to 8 weeks in spring 2009. Sales, service and product development personnel will be unaffected by the temporary lay-offs. 

In addition, the company’s pre-fabrication business area, which employs approximately 100 employees, have been permanently laid-off. Personnel reductions will take place in several other units, as well, resulting in the loss of another approximately 100 employees. 

Dow Chemical Co.

The Dow Chemical Co. announced on December 8 that it would eliminate approximately 5,000 full-time jobs, close 20 facilities in high-cost locations and divest several “non-strategic” businesses in response to the state of the current economy. Once fully implemented, these actions are expected to result in $700 million in annual operating cost savings by 2010.

In addition, reflecting poor current market conditions, Dow will temporarily idle approximately 180 plants.

Alcoa 

Alcoa, parent company of Kawneer Inc., announced in January its action plans to conserve cash, reduce costs and strengthen its competitiveness during the current economic downturn by, among other things, making employee reductions.

Kawneer is part of Alcoa’s building and construction systems business unit, where there will be “consolidation of operations.”  

USG
© Copyright 2009 Key Communications Inc. All rights reserved.
No reproduction of any type without expressed written permission.