Caradon plc continues to downsize with the sale of BetterBilt Inc., a U.S. window and door business, to MI Home Products Inc. of Gratz, Pa., for $16.75 million.
At the same time, Weybridge, England-based Caradon said it has sold Caradon Everest Ltd. and Caradon Doors and Windows Ltd., its United Kingdom PVC profile, window and door operations, to independent British firm Bardox Group plc for £40.3 million ($64.7 million).
Bardox, a Winsford, England-based manufacturer of Weatherseal-brand doors and windows, is being backed in the deal by London venture capital group 3i.
BetterBilt of Smyrna, Tenn., manufactures aluminum and vinyl windows and patio and storm doors at its two plants at Smyrna and Prescott Valley, Ariz. Last year the group achieved ``significant cost reductions'' by closing its vinyl window and door plant in Lebanon, Tenn., and cutting staff at the Prescott Valley facility.
BetterBilt reported a 1998 operating loss of $5.9 million, after $2.4 million in restructuring charges, on annual sales of $87.6 million.
MI Home Products makes building components, including new and replacement vinyl windows and patio doors. The company has eight U.S. plants, in Winlock, Wash.; Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.; Van Alstyne, Texas; Oldsmar, Fla.; Millen, Ga.; Concord, N.C.; Brazil, Ind.; and Gratz, Pa.
According to Caradon, the sales were part of a strategy to concentrate on fewer, larger businesses.
``Caradon is also in the process of disposing of its remaining doors and windows businesses in North America,'' the company added, promising more details on these sales ``in due course.''
Remaining North American operations earmarked for sale include door producer Caradon Peachtree Inc. of Atlanta.; Caradon Thermal-Gard Inc. of Punxsutawney, Pa.; and Caradon Windows and Doors Ltd. of Calgary, Alberta.
Caradon Doors and Windows of Cheltenham, England, runs two English extrusion plants. The Toddington plant extrudes PVC window and door profiles for Cuffley, England-based Everest. The Aylesford plant produces PVC foam core for exterior house timber replacements, according to Caradon.
The United Kingdom operations recorded a profit before restructuring charges of £1.5 million ($2.4 million) on sales of £144.4 million ($230 million), according to Caradon.
Caradon also announced the sale of its garage door manufacturing business, Caradon Garador Ltd. of Yeovil, England, for £2.5 million ($4 million) to its management. However, Caradon will retain the Yeovil property.
Caradon plans to keep one vinyl window and door operation, its German subsidiary Weru AG of Rudersberg, which, it says, is a fundamentally different business from its British units.
The Caradon deal allows Bardox of Winsford, England, to add PVC window profiles, door panels, conservatory roofs and other PVC building products to its product mix.
Bardox claims the acquisition makes it Britain's largest privately owned home improvement business, with 2,000 employees and total sales of £250 million ($400 million).
Bardox already owns Winsford-based Weatherseal Windows Ltd., local replacement window manufacturer Supreme-O-Glaze Ltd. of Romford, England, and kitchen products maker Space Kitchens Ltd. of Blackburn, England.
Bardox says it will revive the brands of Duraflex window and door systems, Celuform extruded PVC sills, fascia boards and trims, and GB Wendland PVC conservatory roof systems and door panels.
Brian Kennedy, the 38-year-old founder and chairman of Bardox, said the company will invest about £10 million ($16 million) to upgrade and modernize the Caradon operations.
``We now intend to improve the brand image of the group's products through significant marketing investment,'' he added.