B&C Round-up: Ply Gem acquires Mitten

Consolidation continues in the building and construction market with the acquisition of Mitten Inc. by Ply Gem Industries Inc. Mitten, a Canadian manufacturer and distributor of vinyl siding and accessories, and other exterior building products, was a portfolio company of Graham Partners which acquired the company in 2011. Mitten increased EBTDA over 65% during Graham’s hold period, according to information from Graham Partners.

Ply Gem (Cary, NC) is a manufacturer of exterior building products that includes a comprehensive line of vinyl windows and patio doors, vinyl siding, design accents, cellular PVC trip and moldings, vinyl fencing, vinyl and composite railing, stone veneer and injection molded polymer cedar shakes and shingles used in both new construction and home repair and remodeling in the U.S. and western Canada. Announced at the recent International Builders Show in January of this year was the addition of PVC trim and moldings to its portfolio of more than 20 product categories.
   
In May, Ply Gem management took the company public with an initial public offering stock price of $21 per share, offering 15,789,474 shares of its common stock. 
   
Graham Partners contributed substantial support to Mitten’s development, working steadily with the company to improve its cost structure and margins. Lean manufacturing initiatives and operation improvements were implemented in Mitten’s main manufacturing facility, and leveraged procurement initiatives provided additional cost savings.
   
Graham also recruited new management talent from within the industry to enhance Mitten’s team. “Within eight months of acquisition, Graham Partners successfully recruited a seasoned CEO, who brought considerable industry expertise to Mitten, in addition to hiring a new CFO, as well as creating several new operational roles.”


Global demand for plastic pipe to reach 11.2 billion meters in 2017

Global demand for plastic pipe in projected to rise 8.5% annually through 2017 to 11.2 billion meters, improving significantly from growth posted between 2007 and 2012, according to the latest report from The Freedonia Group, a Cleveland-based industry market research firm.
   
Advances will come in large part from increased construction spending in all global regions, since plastic pipe is most heavily utilized in construction applications. In addition, a rebound in the key U.S. market will spur growth. Plastic pipe will also gain market share as it continues to replace other materials, such as copper, concrete, and steel, due to its low cost, installation ease, and performance advantages.
   
PVC is by far the most widely used pipe resin, said the Freedonia report, accounting for over 55% of global plastic pipe demand in 2012. Going forward, however, HDPE is expected to take market share from PVC in a variety of construction applications. For instance, as PEX becomes more common in many regional markets, the material will supplant PVC potable water distribution pipe. Additionally, fiberglass – demand for which has historically been limited because of its high price – is beginning to be used in a wider array of water and wastewater settings because of its performance advantages.
   
Demand gains in terms of weight will benefit from plastic’s increased use in larger diameter pipe. The majority of large diameter plastic pipe is used in infrastructure applications, such as potable water transmission and sewer and drainage networks. Plastic pipe will be the material of choice in many developed countries where lower-cost plastic pipe will replace decaying infrastructure. Ease of installation is also a consideration for the use of plastic pipe in these applications.
                   

Altuglas introduces Plexiglas Diffuse resin for lighting

With the increasing popularity and more demanding applications for LED lighting, the ability to diffuse light without compromising overall light transmission has become critical. This is particularly true for indoor lighting applications.
   
Plexiglas Diffuse, introduced by Altuglas International, a subsidiary of Arkema Group, is a new family of resins designed for optimum diffusion of LED light.  Plexiglas Diffuse is designed to provide LED luminaire OEMs and optimcs suppliers with optimum light diffusion performance, in addition to superior light transmission.
   
Michael Lamarra, LED lighting business development at Altuglas, commented, “Plexiglas Diffuse resins bring a unique set of properties that LED lighting designers have wanted – better diffusion of intense LED point light sources without surrendering significant light transmission.
   
“This improvement in the traditional transmission versus diffusion tradeoff gives lighting manufacturers the option to either improve the overall light output of their design or save costs by designing in fewer or lower power LED modules to achieve the same light output,” Lamarra explained.
   
Plexiglas acrylics have served a role in promoting better lighting options for several decades and are suitable for a variety of lighting choices including incandescent, fluorescent, high intensity discharge (HID), and now light emitting diode (LED) technologies.

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