The struggle to survive in the pipe, profile and tubing businesses created some changes to Plastics News' ranking in 1998.
The biggest news came from Owens Corning of Toledo, Ohio. The company's in-house extruded product sales went from zero to $257.4 million in less than a year.
Owens picked up 1997's No. 15, Fibreboard Corp. of Dallas, and No. 21 Amerimark Building Products Inc. of Raleigh, N.C. Both acquisitions recently bought companies of their own. In two moves, Owens essentially gobbled up the combined PVC siding and window assets of Amerimark, Reynolds Metals Co., Fibreboard and Fabwel Inc., a Dallas-based supplier to the manufactured housing industry.
Those acquisitions shot Owens from a no-show to ninth place on Plastics News' 1997 pipe, profile and tubing ranking.
But the ``for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction'' principle of Newtonian physics also can apply to business.
Owens Corning's growth came at the expense of one company in particular: Jannock Inc. of Pittsburgh. Jannock's Canadian parent company, Jannock Ltd. of Toronto, closed a vinyl siding plant in Mississauga, Ontario, partly because Owens Corning ended up with one of Jannock's customers.
The publicly traded company also attributed the decision to close the plant to another customer closing down and general excess production capacity in the industry.
Jannock reported that its Vinyl Division's sales basically were down slightly to $257.6 million, just nudging out its new rival Owens Corning for the No. 8 position.
Other negative news in the extrusion business came from Lamson & Sessions Co. of Cleveland. The publicly held pipe company reported a 6 percent drop in sales in 1997 compared with 1996 — mainly because of problems associated with a glitchy management information system.
Lower extrusion sales estimates based on that drop knocked Lamson out of the top 10 pipe, profile and tubing extruders for the first time since the ranking began in 1992.
Other notable changes on this year's chart include:
Royal Group Technologies Ltd. has reclaimed the No. 1 spot by the barest of margins. Before Royal became a public firm in 1996, it placed at the top of Plastics News' extruder ranking based on apparently faulty estimates.
This year its extrusion sales again are estimated because the company does break out that information. But recent acquisitions and the burgeoning success of its Royal Building System certainly make the Woodbridge, Ontario, company a force to be reckoned with.
Still, the $8 million gap between Royal and CertainTeed Corp. of Valley Forge, Pa., almost could be considered immaterial — especially because of the uncertainties involved in estimating Royal's sales.
No. 10 Hancor Inc., headquartered in Findlay, Ohio, built two polyethylene pipe plants in the deep South during 1997. Hancor's new Sebring, Fla., plant was relocated from Kissimmee, Fla. The new Vicksburg, Miss., facility, which opened in October, boosts Hancor's total number of operating plants to 16.
Combined with overall sales growth, the additional plants boosted Hancor into the top 10 for the first time.
Akron, Ohio-based Alside Home Improvement Group celebrated its 50th anniversary in 1997, but is new on the chart for 1998.
The company, which was an innovator in aluminum siding before switching over to vinyl in the late 1980s, has kept a low profile. But its parent company, Associated Materials Inc. of Dallas, went public earlier this year. Accompanying financial disclosure forms gave a new insight into Alside, although extrusion sales were not broken out. The company debuts in a tie for No. 22 on the chart based on industry estimates.