Building products firm Owens Corning is seeking a buyer for its Vytec vinyl siding operation.
The Toledo, Ohio-based firm announced the move Feb. 4, with officials vowing that they're still committed to the vinyl siding business, despite industrywide speculation during the past 18 months that the firm will divest it in its entirety.
Vytec's 233-employee operation is in London, Ontario, and was part of Owens Corning's vinyl siding acquisition spree in 1997 under Glen Hiner, who retired in 2002. Owens Corning operates additional extrusion facilities in Claremont, N.C.; Joplin, Mo.; and Olive Branch, Miss.
Even last month at the International Builders' Show, Owens Corning officials emphasized the firm's dedication to that business, touting products like foam-backed Polar Wall, which they said carries an impact resistance three times better than regular siding.
Part of the production was outsourced during 2003, but officials said they would bring manufacturing in-house during 2004.
``It makes a lot more sense to bring that in-house. We're very committed to vinyl siding,'' Van Garber, vice president of marketing for the Siding Solutions business, said in a Jan. 21 interview at the show. ``We have a much stronger siding business.''
The move means that Owens Corning will focus on Homeside and Norandex Reynolds vinyl siding brands and products, said Dan Dietzel, Siding Solutions president.
``We believe that our customers will be best served by focusing all of our energies on these brands,'' Dietzel said in a news release.
It's unclear what industry player would pick up capacity in the mature market; several have been trying to secure positions in the Canadian market.
Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Home Exteriors Inc. attempted to enter the Canadian market in 2001 with the purchase of Cleveland-based Gentek Building Products Inc. But Alcoa abandoned that plan because of unresolved liability issues.
Instead, Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio-based Alside Inc. picked up Gentek last year, gaining an extrusion plant in Burlington, Ontario.
Owens Corning sold its Atlanta vinyl siding facility to Alcoa early last year. Alcoa President Gary Acinapura has said it is his intention to be ``out in front of our customers' needs with capacity,'' and he has not been shy in expressing his intent to double Alcoa's size by 2005.