THERMAL INDUSTRIES GETS BUYER

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Publicly traded vinyl window fabricator Thermal Industries Inc. will become a private company when a Florida investment firm buys it for nearly $30 million.

The deal includes Vinylium Corp., Thermal Industries' window profile extrusion business.

H.I.G. Investment Group LP of Miami acquired Thermal Industries and Vinylium on Jan. 6. The transaction, which is subject to shareholder approval, is valued at $29.6 million, according to documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Shareholders are expected to vote on the deal by March 31.

The sale includes a window and door fabrication plant in Murrysville, Pa., and two Pittsburgh factories, the Vinylium extrusion plant and a facility that fabricates patio enclosures. Thermal Industries also makes products for decking and docks. It employs about 500.

Thermal Industries reported $41.8 million in sales for fiscal 1996, ended June 30. Sales increased 8.4 percent over the 1995 figure of $38.5 million. Profit for 1996 was $1.98 million, down 3.4 percent from $2 million in 1995.

Sales directly from Vinylium's extrusion operation totaled $8 million in 1996.

In the most recent Plastics News sales-based ranking of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders, Vinylium tied with two other companies for 121st. That was based on 1995 extrusion sales of $7 million.

Meanwhile, several top executives will remain with Thermal Industries. David Weis, who founded the company in 1960 and will remain as chief executive officer under the new owner, said in a prepared statement that the deal ``will fulfill my vision of Thermal as a national company.''

The company now mostly serves the Midwest and eastern United States.

David Rascoe, an employee of the company since 1978, will continue as president and chief operating officer. Eric Rascoe will remain as secretary-treasurer.

Thermal Industries is traded on Nasdaq. Its board of directors unanimously approved the deal.

A spokesman for H.I.G. Investment declined to give any details about H.I.G.

The SEC filing that details the sale agreement called H.I.G. ``a substantial privately held investment firm in Miami, Fla., with various manufacturing and distribution businesses.''