The marriage of Andersen Corp. and Silver Line Building Products Corp. will have relatively little impact on the fragmented window industry as a whole, though the pairing of the two companies represents a bold move by Andersen to become a major player in vinyl.
Industry watchers applaud the move, giving Bayport, Minn.-based Andersen credit for strengthening its portfolio and diversifying its material use.
North Brunswick, N.J.-based Silver Line is the nation's largest vinyl window manufacturer. Andersen is the largest in wood.
The acquisition closed July 5.
``If Andersen was to grow market share, this was going to be one of the easiest ways to do it,'' said Bill Uhl, president of Dayton, Ohio-based MarkeTact Consulting LLC, in a June 28 telephone interview. ``Give credit to Andersen. They made a big play with Silver Line to do this. They didn't just stick their toe in the water.''
Other than the strengthening of both brands, analysts and industry officials expect little change in the marketplace as a result.
``In terms of how it could affect the window market, I'm really not sure,'' Uhl said.
Nick Limb, managing partner with Ducker Research Co. Inc. in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., said Andersen's decisions regarding its distribution channel could represent the most significant changes.
``Presumably, this is an opportunity to kind of increase, or open up, different avenues for Silver Line,'' Limb said. ``Andersen is selling windows and doors. It makes sense to provide a variety of products.
``This strengthens Andersen and puts pressure on their bigger competitors.''
One of the biggest concerns when two companies merge is whether the two businesses overlap, or cannibalize one another, Uhl said.
``I don't necessarily see that here,'' he said. ``This looks like a very positive move from a strategic standpoint. There is minimal, if any, conflict.''
Andersen also makes a wood-plastic composite product called Renewal by Andersen.
``Silver Line is backward-integrated into vinyl compounding and extrusion,'' Uhl said. ``This provides them cost advantage in their product line.
``Vinyl windows now have a very high share overall of new construction, and in the replacement market.''
Lee Meyer, president and chief executive officer of Kearney, Mo.-based Ply Gem Industries Inc., said he was surprised that it took Andersen so long to invest in vinyl.
``They recognized that they needed to get into vinyl if they were going to have ongoing, long-term success,'' Meyer said.
Plenty of competitive forces remain in the window market, he said. Both companies are now bigger than they were before, but neither improved its market position, he said.
``It remains to be seen in terms of how it all unfolds - what they do as it relates to developing an integrated strategy.
``If they are effective at that, it might be a formidable force in the industry.''