Industry reacts to Oldcastle-Vistawall deal
Some speculate the fabricator will go to installations next
Oldcastle Glass of Santa Monica, Calif., became a major player in the aluminum curtain wall, skylight and window wall market last week with its purchase of The Vistawall Group of Terrell, Texas. The deal has left industry representatives wondering what’s next for the company and the industry.
“Who are they looking to be when they get done with their purchases?” asks Bill John, president of InterClad in Minneapolis. “What is the end game?”
Max Perilstein, vice president of marketing for Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. of Tamarac, Fla., says the acquisition marks a shift in the industry, as consolidation becomes the norm and companies strive to become one-stop shops. “The ultimate goal is being able to service the customer the most completely. When you have all they need under your control, you really have a step on everyone else,” Perilstein says.
Susan Trimble, director of corporate communications for Oldcastle Glass, says decision makers on the job are calling for more product bundling from suppliers.
“Architects, building developers and glazing contractors can reduce the risks inherent in building construction by buying from a single source,” Trimble says. “Most importantly, they can close the building envelope more quickly and efficiently, thereby reducing their cost to complete the building.”
As Oldcastle Glass continues to increase its scope on the market—now in glass and system fabrication—John speculates whether installation might be the company’s next target.
“We get a little worried that they’re going to try to muscle in and become a large-scale national contract, like [the former Harmon Contract Inc.] was when it was doing $400 million in sales,” John says. “When you look at what’s happening with Oldcastle, you have to ask if they are going to become that.”
Jim Farley, operations manager for Colonial Glass in Brooklyn, N.Y., agrees installations are a likely next step. “Oldcastle is trying to do the entire building envelope,” he says. “I wouldn’t be too surprised if they go the route of [Apogee Enterprises Inc. of Minneapolis] and end up having an installation arm.”
Whether Oldcastle Glass sticks with only fabrication, or grows further into the contract glazing market, Perilstein says the company will face challenges being stretched across different segments of the industry.
“Being a true single source is not as easy as it looks,” he says. “There’s a lot of buy in and a ton of communication needed. You really need all pistons firing in concert. They will have their work cut out in trying to have ultimate success as a one-stop shop.”
—By Katy Devlin, e-Newsletter editor, e-glass weekly