Western European window manufacturers continue to look to the United States for new markets.
Schuco International KG of Bielefeld, Germany, is the latest in a string of German and Belgian companies to make moves into North America in the past few years. Schuco announced Jan. 13 it acquired Homecraft Industries of Newington, Conn.
Schuco extrudes vinyl and aluminum profiles for windows, doors and other uses in Europe, while Homecraft fabricates vinyl replacement windows and doors in the United States.
Although the new ownership brings a new name — Schuco Homecraft LP — it will not bring drastic changes, according to former Homecraft owner and current President Joseph Marinello.
``We'll just do more of what we do now,'' Marinello said.
Marinello noted Schuco is a leader in European window systems, and is known for its sweeping-curtain wall applications.
Homecraft's markets have been more humble, and the firm will remain focused on the residential replacement-window market.
``With [Schuco's] technology and expertise, [it] will be able to show us how to make our products better and cheaper,'' Marinello said.
And the company will continue ordering its PVC profiles from Liberty Plastics, a Toronto-based joint venture between Homecraft and extrusion giant Royal Group Technologies Ltd. of Woodbridge, Ontario, Marinello said. Schuco secured Homecraft's stake in the joint venture as part of the acquisition deal, he added.
Schuco reported 1996 sales of more than 1.6 billion deutsche marks ($1.06 billion). Homecraft's annual sales are about $30 million, Marinello said.
Schuco joins several other companies from Belgium and Germany recently making their initial foray into the U.S. vinyl window business.
Deceuninck Plastics Industries SA of Roeselare, Belgium, bought extruder Dayton Technologies Inc. of Monroe, Ohio, in 1997 and a majority share of Acro Extrusion Corp. of Wilmington, Del., in 1995. Tessenderlo Group of Brussels, Belgium, bought extruder Chelsea Building Products of Oakmont, Pa., in 1997.
In 1995 Thyssen Polymer GmbH of Essen, Germany, bought a 50 percent stake in extruder Vinyl Building Products Inc. of Oakland, N.J.