ANAHEIM, CALIF. - Owens-Corning Fiberglas Corp. said European composites operations continue to improve and expansions of worldwide glass-reinforcement capacity are on target. However, the company still imports products to meet North American demand for glass-fiber reinforcements.
"Our expectations for the composite materials business were realized as economic conditions outside the U.S. improved and our 1994 productivity initiatives took effect," Glen H. Hiner, chairman and chief executive officer, said in the first-quarter report.
Owens-Corning reported European composite-material sales of $105 million and profit of $8 million, compared with 1994 quarter sales of $75 million and no profit. U.S. composite-material sales were $152 million compared with $151 million in 1994's first quarter. Profit, however, increased to $34 million from $25 million.
"The European market is strong across the board," Efthimios O. Vidalis, corporate vice president and composites business segment president, said in an interview at SAMPE '95 in Anageim.
"European demand for thermoplastic shop strand gew 30 percent in 1994," he said.
Owens-Corning continues to add capacity at facilities in Europe and North and South America.
"Investment in manufactruing facilities is delivering the greatest amount of additional capacity, faster and sooner than building a new facility would allow," Vidalis said.
The facility in Wrexham, Wales, will add 30 percent capacity in the third quarter, and the Jackson, Tenn., plant will double its 1994 production to 176 million pounds of glass.
While the April 1994 reactivation of the Jackson plant increased its domestic capacity, Owens-Corning continued to import products from its other operations to meet North American demand for glass-fiber reinforcements. Those imports may slow as the additional capacities come on line.
Maurice Lundrigan, vice president for composites for North America, said Owens-Corning has built invetories to bridge production transitions and used a managed order system with customers.
Brad Wiggins, composites market manager, noted the glass-reinforcement capacity issue is nat a factor with Owens-Corning's lightweight S-2 glass fiber, which is used in aerospace, defense and recreational products.
The company increased the Huntingdon, Pa., facility capacity 30 percent and can expand S-2 output without major capital investment, Wiggins said.
The composite-material segment accounted for about 31 percent of Toledo, Ohil-based Owens-Corning's 1994 sales of $3.4 billion and contributed about 23 percent of the $132 million opertational income before taxes.
Current trends indicate the segment's contribution will improve in 1995; last year, European composites reproted an $8 million loss.