AKRON, OHIO — Several key changes affected pipe, profile and tubing extruders since Plastics News published its 1996 ranking of that industry June 17. The year was marked by two major siding extruders, CertainTeed Corp. and Jannock Ltd., buying their way into the growing PVC fence market.
In PVC pipe, Diamond Plastics Corp. built its fifth plant — and its second new factory in two years. Late in the year, a Japanese trading company was trying to buy National Pipe & Plastics Inc.
Here is a recap:
CertainTeed Corp., No. 1 on the chart, diversified this fall by purchasing PVC fence extruder Bufftech Inc. of Buffalo, N.Y., which runs six extrusion lines and employs about 100. Although sales figures are not released for Bufftech, the acquisition should help the Valley Forge, Pa.-based CertainTeed strengthen its hold on the top spot, since industry observers say the PVC fence market is growing about 20 percent a year.
CertainTeed also formed a joint venture with Insulate Industries Inc. of Auburn, Wash., to expand its access to the northwestern U.S. market for vinyl windows. Insulate is 84th on the overall chart and 14th on the breakout chart of window extruders.
Jannock Inc., which came in ninth, bought PVC fence extruder Heritage Vinyl Products, with a plant in Macon, Miss., in January.
No. 4 firm Royal Plastics Group Ltd., banking on growth from its vinyl house concept, in February opened a 300,000-square-foot extrusion factory in Woodbridge, Ontario, that can make up to 12,500 housing units a year. Royal is based in Weston, Ontario. Royal also entered a new extrusion market in 1996: components for PVC garage doors.
In polyethylene pressure pipe, Phillips Driscopipe Inc. built its sixth plant, in Hagerstown, Md., to serve the Northeast. When production begins in mid-1997, the plant will make PE pipe for water and sewer lines, distribution lines for oil and natural gas, and telecommunications. The new plant will give Phillips Driscopipe six factories — the same number as its arch-rival, the Plexco Division of Chevron Corp. Both companies tied for 16th, with estimated sales of $143 million.
Diamond Plastics Corp. is certain to move up the chart as the PVC pipe extruder continues to build plants. Production began this fall at Diamond's fifth plant, a $6.5 million facility in Muncie, Ind. With extrusion sales estimated at $118 million, Diamond, based in Grand Island, Neb., placed 20th in the overall chart and 13th in the pipe breakout chart.
Fibreboard Corp., a former wood products company that bought Norandex Inc. in 1994 and Canada's Vytec Corp. in 1995 — picking up three vinyl siding factories — announced in September it had picked Joplin, Mo., for its fourth siding plant. Production should begin in mid-1997. With $98 million in extrusion sales, the company is No. 23 on the overall chart and eighth on the ranking of profile extruders.
Mikron Industries Inc., which was 25th on the overall chart and No. 2 on the window breakout chart, broke ground Oct. 14 on a $10 million expansion to double capacity at its Richmond, Ky., plant.
Mikron had 1995 sales of $76 million. The new production is set to start in the first quarter of 1997.
The trend of foreign ownership of U.S. PVC pipe production continued late this year, as a Japanese trading company offered to buy National Pipe & Plastics Inc., formerly known as LCP National Plastics, in Vestal, N.Y. The two-plant company, ranked No. 29 with 1995 sales of $65.8 million, struggled to emerge from a 1991 Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing. In October, New York-based Nissho Iwai American Corp., a unit of Nissho Iwai of Tokyo, offered to buy National Pipe. That deal required court approval.
Big O Inc., a Canadian extruder of corrugated high density PE pipe, closed or sold several plants in early-to-mid-1996 as part of a restructuring. The moves left Big O, of Exeter, Ontario, with six extrusion plants. Big O was 52nd on the overall chart, with sales of $31.4 million.
In tubing, Plastiflex Co. Inc. of Anaheim, Calif., No. 54 on the overall chart and the fourth-largest tubing extruder, shuffled its manufacturing in mid-1996. Plastiflex said it was closing its tubing operation in Centralia, Ill., and moving equipment to other plants, including a Whippany, N.J., factory Plastiflex picked up in February when it bought the plastic hose and tubing unit of FPI Thermoplastic Technologies.
Officials of Plastiflex, with $30.2 million in 1995 sales, claim the deal makes the firm North America's largest extruder of plastic hose and tubing for swimming pools, spas, industrial and commercial vacuum industries.