You did your usual fine job of rankings of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders in the June 23 issue.
Bill Bregar, who seems to have been all over the industry — at least all over NPE — also did his usual fine job in articles titled ``Plastic windows snap back from flat '95'' (Page 15) and ``Vinyl continues to gain on wood in windows'' (Page 29).
But I wonder if anyone noticed an implicit, major disparity between the data in the two articles.
Before explaining, let me state that we are the publishers of what is often referred to in the siding and window industry as ``the Sabre report.''
This is a detailed market analysis of the plastic siding and window businesses, issued about every two years. The seventh edition in the series has just gone out to subscribers.
We have long maintained that the size of the vinyl window business is understated. Our carefully arrived-at numbers have always been higher than those reported by the leading industry trade association.
Back to the articles.
The sales of the top 15 window profile extruders listed in the first article total $754 million. First of all, we would deduct 10 percent to allow for the sale of door and accessory profiles, and another 10 percent for scrap in the window fabrication operation. This would leave window sales of $603 million. Assuming average industry pricing of $1.45 per pound and 17 pounds per window, this dollar volume equates to 24.5 million window units. These averages can be argued with, but they should not be significantly out of line.
We believe this number may be somewhat high. The top 15 companies do produce a disproportionate share of the total, but there are at least 20 other window profile extruders in the United States and Canada. Our own extruder-by-extruder analysis resulted in our estimate of 24.3 million vinyl windows sold in the United States in 1996, 26.6 million including Canada. (One possible explanation for the high dollar volume might be the inclusion of fabricated windows sold at much higher prices.)
Turning to the second article, vinyl window volume in 1996 is stated at 17.3 million units. This is clearly at variance with the derived number from the first article. We think that our estimate of 24.3 million is conservative, and the real number may be higher — but we cannot document a higher number. However, the dollar sales figures do tend to support our estimates or even higher numbers.
Perhaps the key point is that many in the industry do not realize or acknowledge how quickly and how much vinyl window volume has grown. A good look at your dollar figures should convince them. This is an exciting business which continues to grow strongly.
Stephen H. Senzer
Sabre Associates Inc.
West Cornwall, Conn.