MONROE, OHIO — With the market for vinyl windows reaching saturation in Western Europe, the recent acquisition of Dayton Technologies provides Deceuninck Plastics Industries SA with an avenue for growth in the United States.
That is the message Deceuninck officials brought to Dayton managers and local officials during a March 11 ceremony at Dayton's Monroe headquarters extruding plant. The ceremony officially marked the passage of Dayton from its previous parent, Pittsburgh-based Aluminum Co. of America. Alcoa sold Dayton to Deceuninck, of Roeselare, Belgium, on Feb. 28 for an undisclosed amount.
Deceuninck has been in a ``continuous battle against big German competitors'' in a Western European market where growth is limited, Deceuninck Managing Director Clement De Meersman said.
The purchase ``represents a key step'' in Deceuninck's global strategy to break out of the Western European market, he said, noting that a U.S. operation also can provide a springboard to future growth in Central and South America.
Deceuninck's first U.S. move was the purchase of a 75 percent controlling interest in Acro Extrusion Corp. of Wilmington, Del., in 1995.
Acro realized window extrusion sales of $14.2 million in 1995, and was 13th in Plastics News' 1996 ranking of North American window extruders. Dayton had $50 million in sales and ranked fifth on the list.
The effective merger of the two units under Deceuninck's umbrella would, based on those rankings, create the third-largest window extruder in North America behind Royal Plastics Group Ltd. of Weston, Ontario, and Mikron Industries Inc. of Kent, Wash.
Deceuninck has plans on how the Acro and Dayton operations will work together, but the firm is not disclosing them, De Meersman said.
``There is a lot of synergy to be worked out'' between the two siblings, De Meersman said.
Once the operating structure of its holdings is put in place, Deceuninck's American operations will be left pretty much on their own, De Meersman said.
``Marketing and sales will be the complete responsibility of the local operation,'' he said, adding Deceuninck's headquarters could provide the U.S. plants help with operational efficiencies and technology.
One of the technology boosts the company could give its U.S. plants is in high-throughput dies and extrusion machines.
``That's an area where Europe — and especially Deceuninck — is more advanced,'' De Meersman said.
Any future expansions in the Americas will come after Deceuninck gets better acquainted with its current holdings, De Meersman said, adding that two years is a reasonable time to wait before building upon its latest move.
The next targets could be on the U.S. West Coast, or in Central and South America, De Meersman said.
Deceuninck, with total 1995 sales of $183 million, already is a major producer of extruded vinyl windows and other products in Europe. Recently the company has expanded into Central and Eastern Europe with a new production facility being built in Poland and distribution centers in Russia.
But the potential for growth in the emerging countries of Central and Eastern Europe could be limitless, De Meersman said.
``All of those markets are still embryonic,'' De Meersman said.