Easco Inc. of Girard, Ohio, has decided to get out of the vinyl business.
The company plans to sell its vinyl extrusion plant in Austintown, Ohio, to concentrate on its aluminum business, Easco Chief Executive Officer Norman E. Wells Jr. said in a Sept. 11 telephone interview from Girard, near Youngstown, Ohio.
No concrete negotiations with potential buyers have begun, but Wells said a number of people have shown interest.
``We'll take most of the fourth quarter'' to arrange the sale, Wells said.
The company had declared in its 1996 annual report it would ``continue the commitment to increase Easco's participation in this growing market segment [vinyl].'' But the vinyl profile extrusion industry has experienced a recent round of consolidation, and Easco's aluminum business accounts for 96 percent of the company's sales, Wells said.
``We had to decide if we could invest enough money and become a significant player in the industry, and we decided we could not,'' Wells said.
The leased Austintown facility includes 18 extrusion lines, including four twin-screw machines purchased in 1995. Sales from the plant totaled $13.1 million in 1996, most of which went to replacement window fabricators. Other products produced there include patio-door, bath-enclosure and custom profiles. The 98 employees at the plant are represented by the United Steelworkers of America.
``It's a relatively small operation compared to the rest of our business,'' Wells said.
Publicly traded Easco reported a total of $333 million in sales for 1996. The firm operates 10 other manufacturing facilities, all of which handle aluminum operations.
Easco also announced Sept. 10 it was reorganizing one of its aluminum plants. About 100 jobs will be shed from Easco's Dolton, Ill., facility. Easco reported it will take a one-time, third-quarter charge of $0.08 per share to cover employee severance and other expenses.
Wall Street took Easco's announcements in stride. The company's stock closed down 50 cents to $13 per share on Sept. 10, but rebounded to $13.37 late in the afternoon Sept. 11.