PITTSBURGH - To glimpse the future of Jannock Ltd.'s year-old vinyl window fabrication business, company officials say, look back to what Jannock has accomplished in vinyl siding. Growing through acquisition, Jannock in the past six years has moved from being a newcomer to a major player in siding extrusion. Jannock's $221.5 million in 1995 plastic extrusion sales - nearly all of it from siding - places it in ninth place on Plastics News' current ranking of pipe, profile and tubing extruders.
Jannock extrudes some well-known siding brands: Daymond, Heartland, Armor Bond, Master Shield and Bird.
The biggest boost in siding came when Toronto-based Jannock bought Bird Corp.'s siding extrusion plant in Bardstown, Ky., for $42.5 million early last year. Then, in mid-1995, Jannock spent another $3.2 million to pick up Bird's window fabrication business in Leechburg, Pa., called Kensington Windows Inc. That became the first plant in Jannock's Window Division.
Now Jannock wants to buy more window fabricators.
``We want to grow into a major force in vinyl windows,'' said Gary Acinapura, executive vice president of windows.
Before Jannock recruited Acinapura last July, he had spent 18 years at CertainTeed Corp., most recently as vice president and general manager of windows.
Acinapura works in the Pittsburgh office of Jannock's Vinyl Group. Like the company's two other groups, metal fabricating and brick, the Vinyl Group makes most of its own decisions independently of the Toronto home office.
That attracted Acinapura, who said he could not pass up the chance to build a national window business from scratch.
``They are very, very adamant about keeping the businesses as decentralized as possible and bringing people in with entrepreneurial tendencies, who are risk-takers and are aggressive,'' he said in a June 4 interview in Pittsburgh. ``That's why I decided to leave the company that had been very good to me. I had a wonderful career'' at CertainTeed.
Kensington Windows now has the capacity to fabricate 300,000 vinyl windows a year, although Acinapura declined to reveal actual production. The plant in Leechburg, north of Pittsburgh, employs 150.
Although Jannock has no set timetable, Acinapura would like Jannock to hit the 1 million window mark within five years.
``Our primary focus is we want to get mass buildup in the window business,'' he said.
Plans do not call for Jannock to become a significant window profile extruder. According to Acinapura, the company wants to remain focused on fabrication, not extrusion.
Most of Kensington Windows' profiles will continue to come from a Royal Plastics Group Ltd. plant in Toronto, in an arrangement that dates to the early 1980s. Bird supplies a small number of profiles to Kensington and other fabricators, but Bird is not a major window extruder, he said.
Kensington Windows specializes in energy-efficient replacement windows. The company offers Heat Mirror windows, which use special film and gases sealed inside the pane. At the plant, employees inject a poly-urethane foam insulation inside the window profiles.
``We are serving a very specialized, high-performance part of the market,'' Acinapura said.
Kensington ships to 20 states east of the Mississippi River.
Traditionally, the vinyl window fabrication industry has been fragmented. Most of the 500-plus fabricators serve local markets. But making vinyl windows has changed, and smaller players are having a hard time keeping pace with technology.
Acinapura sees future consolidation as the industry splits into two groups - large national fabricators with deep pockets and niche regional fabricators.
``The barriers to enter and remain competitive are much more significant now than they were five to 10 years ago, because windows primarily were screwed together,'' he said. ``It was a very low investment and anybody could get in.
``But now with welding technology and corner cleaning and [computer numerically controlled] saw and glass equipment, it's a huge expense to start a company,'' he said.
``So you look at a business that basically started out with maybe an entry level of $100,000 - now when you start out you've an entry level of $1 million. It's creating some problems for some of the smaller, less capitalized mom-and-pop type operations.''