Making the biggest waves in this year's Plastics News ranking are two Taiwanese-owned PVC pipe manufacturers: JM Manufacturing Co. and North American Pipe Corp./Napco Manufacturing Inc. The 1995 survey marks a significant changing of the guard at the No. 1 position. JM Manufacturing, a titan of PVC pipe with more than 800 million pounds of actual production, has taken over the title as North America's largest extruder of pipe, profiles and tubing from Royal Plastics Group Ltd. Royal had held the No. 1 spot since 1991, the first year Plastics News published an extruders ranking.
Royal, in fact, exchanged places with JM, falling to No. 4 on the overall chart, behind CertainTeed Corp. and Alcoa Building Products. Royal also lost its No. 1 position on the chart that tracks only profile extruders.
Why did Royal lose its ranking crown? Fluctuations in the 1994 Canadian-U.S. currency relationship are part of the answer. But the biggest reason is that Royal, a closely held, secretive extrusion giant, held a public stock offering in late 1994. Compulsory financial documents revealed Royal to be much smaller than previously thought.
To be fair, we believe there may be significant differences between sales disclosed by the new, publicly held Royal and estimated sales for the earlier private Royal. It could be like comparing apples to oranges, although Royal has not responded to repeated Plastics News requests to explain the differences. In any event, the chart shows both 1994 and 1993 sales as reported by the public Royal Plastics Group.
The No. 5 company is the most acquisition-minded extruder in North America for the past few years: Westlake Group. A unit of a Taiwanese petrochemical supplier, Westlake has built a strong extrusion base during the past few years, buying seven PVC pipe plants and two Canadian profile plants.
We identify each of the Westlake-affiliated companies separately, but list them under one heading, with a single 1994 extrusion sales figure of $267 million. In last year's ranking, Westlake, through North American Pipe Corp., had 1993 extrusion sales estimated at $96 million.
In other Top 10 changes, Pacific Western Extruded Plastics Co., the PVC pipe firm known as PW Pipe, skipped ahead of Ipex Inc., the dominant Canadian player, largely because of currency fluctuations. Watch out, though, because a major change is about to happen in the world of PVC pipe. In January, PW Pipe, with more than $200 million in 1994 sales, was put up for sale by its owner, Simpson Investment Co. No deal had been announced as of early June.
This year, one newcomer jumped into the Top 10; Advanced Drainage Systems Inc., which kept its position as the largest extruder of corrugated high density polyethylene drain pipe, moved ahead of Hancor Inc. Three firms fell out of the Top 10: vinyl siding extruder Jannock Inc. and the two largest HDPE pressure pipe makers, Phillips Driscopipe Inc. and Plexco Division of Chevron Corp. Jannock fell to No. 11 despite a 20 percent sales increase.
The ranking has been improved in two significant ways. We added a breakout chart showing only window profile extruders, based on vinyl window-related sales. We believe this to be the first published ranking of its kind. Secondly, we added a column identifying the type of resin each firm uses.
This year's ranking has 197 firms, 35 more than last year. New companies include BPCO Inc., KWH Pipe (Canada) Ltd., Crescent Plastics Inc., Fit-All Pricing Corp., Colonial Plastics Manufacturing Co., Modern Products Inc., APTC Plastics, Atrex Inc. and Proform Inc.
The breakout charts spotlight each of the three extrusion categories. In profiles, Alcoa Building Products took the No. 1 position away from Royal, which moved to third. Two window extruders advanced several positions: Mikron Industries Inc., which moved three spots higher, to 10th; and Veka Holdings Inc., which climbed onto the profile extruder chart at 14th place.
In pipe, JM remains the largest pipe extruder, followed by North American Pipe/Napco Manufacturing. PW Pipe moved up a notch, to third. CertainTeed is a newcomer to this chart.
Action Technology Co. remains by far the largest tubing extruder. Two companies are new to the tubing breakout chart: DLH Industries Inc. and Sunlite Plastics Inc..