CINCINNATI - Glen Hiner, the acquisition-minded leader of Owens Corning, said the firm looked at Ply Gem Industries Inc., which was put up for sale last summer, but decided against buying the $800 million maker of wood and plastics building products. Hiner, since becoming chairman and chief executive officer of Owens Corning in 1992, has launched a drive to reach $5 billion in sales by the year 2000 - similar to what he accomplished as head of GE Plastics from 1978 through 1991. Sales for 1995 at the Toledo, Ohio, company were $3.61 billion.
Interviewed Feb. 7 in Cincinnati during the SPI Composites Institute's annual show, Hiner did not provide details about why Owens Corning decided against buying Ply Gem.
But he made it clear Owens Corning wants to add more building products companies: ``We're in an acquisition mode. We've done seven acquisitions in the last 18 months,'' he said.
The company also is looking at joint ventures, he said.
Owens Corning wants to be known as a supplier of building systems, and become more commercially driven.
But Ply Gem did not pass muster. The New York firm's plastics holdings include vinyl siding extruder Variform Inc. of Kearney, Mo.; vinyl window fabricator Great Lakes Window Inc. of Toledo; Richwood Building Products Inc., an injection molder in Richwood, Ky., and Crestline Windows & Doors, which fabricates vinyl and wood windows in Mosinee, Wis. Most of Ply Gem's sales come from wood products.
Ply Gem announced last August that it had hired Bear, Stevens & Co. Inc. to explore a possible sale, as a way to boost shareholder value. An unsuccessful restructuring and high costs associated with creating a new business information system hit the company's earnings hard in mid-1995.
Owens Corning recently hired an executive from Ply Gem, Rhonda Brooks, to become vice president of marketing for Owens Corning's composites business. At Ply Gem, Brooks was responsible for two operating subsidiaries and corporate marketing and business development. Her prior work experience includes a stint at GE Plastics.
Here are some recent plastics-related deals Owens Corning has done:
Last Dec. 26, Owens Corning acquired Delsan Industries, a $10 million vinyl window fabricator in St. Louis. Hiner said Delsan gives the company more fabricating capacity. Owens Corning began fabricating its Luminess windows and doors in Martinsville, Va., in early 1995.
On Dec. 4, the company bought Fiber-Lite, which makes glass-fiber insulation products for the automotive and office furniture markets in Maumee, Ohio. Fiber-Lite had been a customer of Owens Corning.
Under Hiner, Owens Corning has expanded aggressively into foamed polystyrene insulation, picking up UC Industries Inc., a Parsippany, N.J., manufacturer of extruded PS insulation, and Falcon Manufacturing of Michigan Inc., a maker of expanded PS foam based in Byron Center, Mich.
In addition, Owens Corning introduced Transitions brand vinyl siding in mid-1995. It buys the siding under a private-label agreement with an undisclosed extrusion company.
Owens Corning's 1995 sales of $3.61 billion represent a 7.8 percent increase over 1994 sales of $3.35 billion.