It's the classic cartoon depiction of the food chain: A small fish is eaten by a slightly bigger fish, which in turn is eaten by an even bigger fish.
But in this case, the biggest fish is a hungry Owens Corning, which is in the process of gobbling up more vinyl siding capacity.
Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning announced July 29 it has agreed to purchase AmeriMark Building Products Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., for $310 million. AmeriMark has 10 plants and 54 distribution centers. The company manufactures vinyl siding along with aluminum accessories.
Privately held AmeriMark was playing the role of predator in December when it announced it was acquiring Richmond, Va.-based Reynolds Metals Co.'s vinyl siding and window assets.
Now Owens Corning is absorbing the assets of both companies, adding to its growing stable of vinyl extrusion and distribution facilities.
Owens Corning also recently announced it completed its acquisition of Dallas-based Fibreboard Corp., with Owens Corning ending up with 92 percent of Fibreboard's outstanding shares. Fibreboard, too, recently had beefed up its own siding portfolio by buying Fabwel Inc., also of Dallas, in March.
Combining the production capacity of Fibreboard, AmeriMark and Reynolds will bring Owens Corning from zero sales of its own extruded products in 1996 to an estimated $339 million, based on Plastics News' pipe, profile and tubing extruder rankings for that year.
With those kinds of numbers, Owens Corning will rival CertainTeed Corp., Alcoa Building Products, Royal Group Technologies Ltd. and Jannock Inc. as North America's top vinyl siding producers.
Before picking up Fibreboard, Owens Corning had sold vinyl siding, but did not produce it.
Owens Corning now will sell siding under its own name, the Norandex and Vytec brands from Fibreboard, as well as the Alsco, Homeside and Hastings brands the AmeriMark purchase will bring. Owens Corning no longer will sell siding made by outside companies, according to spokeswoman Tricia Ingraham.
``It's all going to be our own stuff,'' she said.
To help fund its AmeriMark purchase, Owens Corning is selling off the Pabco calcium silicate subsidiary it picked up from Fibreboard, as well as putting a hybrid securities offer on the market that could bring in about $300 million.
After 17 acquisitions in three years, Owens Corning may be ready to take a breather from its buying spree.
``We definitely are still growing,'' Ingraham said. ``But we're not looking for anything [to acquire] right away.''
For now, Owens Corning will concentrate on integrating its recent purchases ``with the Owens Corning brand and culture,'' Ingraham said.
Part of that culture includes growth-minded Chief Executive Officer Glen Hiner, who has pledged his firm will reach $5 billion in sales by 1999. Owens Corning reported $3.8 billion in sales in 1996. AmeriMark's total pro forma annual sales would have been about $430 million in 1996 if its Reynolds acquisition were included.