Change is in the air for Alcoa Building Products Inc.
The firm has acquired Richwood Building Products Inc. in a deal that makes the Pittsburgh-based firm the No. 2 player in injection molded shutters and gables.
At the same time, the vinyl building products company is changing its name to Alcoa Home Exteriors Inc., effective Dec. 1, as officials gear up with an ``aggressive growth strategy.''
Terms of the Richwood deal, which officially closed Nov. 22, were not revealed. Richwood had been owned by Nortek Inc., based in Providence, R.I. Nortek acquired it as part of Ply-Gem Industries Inc. in 1997.
``This was a natural fit for us,'' said Alcoa President Gary Acinapura. ``Their product assortment and our product assortment complement each other and we have synergy from a distribution standpoint.''
The No. 1 molder of shutters and gables is Tapco International Inc., a Plymouth, Mich., company that owns shutter producers Mid-America Building Products Inc. and Vantage Products Corp. of Conyers, Ga. Tapco acquired the latter earlier this year.
Richwood operates one facility in Richwood, Ky., with 57 employees and 13 injection presses with clamping forces of 750-2,500 tons. Acinapura said it would be difficult to expand production in the 26,000-square-foot facility.
Acinapura would not disclose sales for Alcoa Home Exteriors or Richwood.
``Our [sales] volume will be up significantly over last year,'' he said. ``We have an aggressive plan for next year as well. Our growth has been up substantially in light of the fact that we eliminated a large block of sales by exiting manufactured housing last year. We've replaced that and grown on top of it and we expect to do a similar amount of growth next year.''
The acquisition highlights Alcoa's focus: to offer the broadest assortment of products in the industry, Acinapura said, including injection molded products and vinyl and metal siding.
``The industry is maturing,'' he said in a Nov. 27 telephone interview. ``As it matures, the consumer becomes more educated and they need to understand the value proposition each one of us brings to the table. The means by which the consumer is educated has changed. We've seen a lot more direct contact with consumers and requests from consumers.''
As for what industry and consumers can expect next, Acinapura said, ``We've laid out a pretty aggressive growth strategy for ourselves [through] organic growth, collaborative efforts with noncompeting building products companies and then acquisitions. You'll see more of each of those three things going forward.''
Alcoa attempted to get a position in Canada last year by acquiring Gentek Building Products Inc., which has extrusion operations in Burlington, Ontario. But that attempt failed over unresolved liability issues.
``We have nothing immediate in front of us that will enable us to take a major position in Canada,'' he said. ``That may be one where we look to collaborate.''
Alcoa Home Exteriors operates its own injection molding facility in Gaffney, S.C., and vinyl extrusion facilities in Stuarts Draft, Va., and Denison, Texas. The company completed an expansion at the Denison facility in August. In the 2002 Plastics News profile extruders ranking, Alcoa had an estimated $220 million in vinyl extrusion sales.
Asked if he was changing the name to try to escape the commodity perception often attached to vinyl siding especially, he said: ``We are not a commodity in any way, shape or form. We're trying to define our position to the homeowner, around fashion and the exterior of the home.''