The growing U.S. vinyl window sector has lured another European company: Belgian chemical firm Tessenderlo Group plans to buy Chelsea Building Products, a window extruder in western Pennsylvania. The Dec. 9 announcement comes as a second Belgian company, Deceuninck Plastics Industries NV, reportedly is negotiating to buy Dayton Technologies, another major U.S. window extruder.
Chelsea Building Products is the fourth-largest window extruder in North America, with estimated sales of $55 million, according to Plastics News' latest such ranking. The company has one plant, in Oakmont, Pa., employing more than 300. The plant runs more than 35 extrusion lines, according to industry sources.
Chelsea Building Products will become part of the company's Plastics Processing Division, which will have about $330 million in 1996 sales from profile and pipe extrusion plants in Belgium and France. About 1,300 people work for the processing division.
Most of the sales at the Plastics Processing Division come from vinyl pipe and fittings and resin compounding plants, said Philippe Polet, president of the company's Plastics Processing Division and the Vinyl Division.
The company has four pipe extrusion plants and compounds vinyl, thermoplastic olefins and thermoplastic rubbers for internal use and sale to other firms.
Buying Chelsea will double the sales of extruded profiles at the Plastics Processing Division, he said. Besides window profiles, the company extrudes fence, cladding and industrial profiles.
``We intend to operate Chelsea Building Products as an independent business,'' Polet said.
Terms were not disclosed. Tessenderlo Group is buying the window plant from Chelsea Industries Inc., a privately held firm in Brighton, Mass. Ronald Casty, chairman of Chelsea Industries, said company officials ``are convinced that [Tessenderlo's] financial strength will enable them to develop the company more quickly than would have been possible with us.''
Based in Brussels, Tessenderlo is a diversified chemical company traded on the Brussels Stock Exchange. It has sales of about $1.6 billion.
Polet said Tessenderlo is Europe's sixth-largest PVC manufacturer. The company has the capacity to make 297 million pounds of PVC and 1.1 billion pounds of vinyl chloride monomer a year.
Overall the company employs more than 6,000 at 51 plants, most of them in Europe.
Tessenderlo has one other business in the United States — Tessenderlo Kerley in Phoenix, a maker of sulfur-based chemicals for mining and agriculture.
Polet said Tessenderlo does not plan to change Chelsea's current management team. He said the Belgian company has more than 40 years of experience in vinyl extrusion in Europe.
Several U.S. window industry executives contacted last week declined to comment about the deal, saying they know very little about Tessenderlo.
Industry observers say European extruders are entering the still-growing U.S. market because the vinyl window market in Europe is mature. Like Tessenderlo, other firms that have jumped in through acquisition are publicly held.
Deceuninck burst on the U.S. window scene in 1995 when it bought a controlling interest in window extruder Acro Extrusion Corp. of Wilmington, Del. Deceuninck, based in Hooglede, Belgium, is helping Acro expand into a larger extrusion plant now being built in New Castle, Del. Now industry sources say the company is talking with Aluminum Co. of America about buying Alcoa's Dayton Technologies window profile plant in Monroe, Ohio.Also in 1995, the giant German vinyl profile extruder Thyssen Polymer acquired 50 percent of window extruder Vinyl Building Products Inc. of Oakland, N.J.