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Armstrong pours $41 million into its Lancaster plant

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Armstrong World Industries is kicking off construction at its Lancaster, Pa. facility, where it’s spending $41 million to expand its manufacturing capacity to include luxury vinyl tile (LVT) for commercial and residential applications.

"We thank the commonwealth and our employees for their support of this investment," said CEO Matt Espe. "Through application of our extensive manufacturing technology, we will be better able to cost-effectively serve our North American customers with high-quality, in-market production. This investment will create local jobs and allow us to continue to grow share in this exciting product category."

In celebration of the expansion, the Armstrong management team joined Senator Pat Toomey, Congressman Joe Pitts, Pennsylvania State Senator Lloyd Smucker, Lancaster City Mayor Rick Gray, Lancaster City Councilman James Reichenbach, representatives from the Pennsylvania and Lancaster Chambers of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers and the Pennsylvania Manufacturer’s Association at the facility.

"Central Pennsylvania is a great place to live and work, and I am delighted that Armstrong is expanding here," said Toomey. "The people of Lancaster County are dedicated and talented workers who will thrive at this facility. They will prove that Armstrong has made a smart decision. Armstrong is a good neighbor that employs nearly 2,000 people at its Lancaster operations. Bringing this vinyl tile manufacturing expansion to Lancaster is welcome news and a great match for the community."

The move is aimed at onshoring its LVT production from Chinese suppliers, a decision announced in October 2013. LVT is experiencing double-digit growth in North America, and bringing production home to the states will help Armstrong creater a leaner business model for the niche, said the company.

Armstrong expects to start shipping LVT from the plant to customers by mid 2015. The move will create approximately 60 new jobs at the plant.

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Owens Corning gets a Green Cross for Safety Medal

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Owens Corning CEO Mike Thaman says the company is honored to receive a Green Cross.

The National Safety Council has awarded Owens Corning with the 2014 Green Cross for Safety Medal, the top honor given annually to an organization with an outstanding safety record and a proven commitment to its community.

"We are honored to be recognized with the Green Cross for Safety medal from the National Safety Council," said chairman and CEO Mike Thaman. "The journey to an injury-free workplace continues, but we take pride in what we’ve accomplished and this special recognition.

Owens Corning, which operates 90 manufacturing plants, has eliminated nearly 95% of recordable injuries (as defined by OSHA) over the past 12 years.

Its safety accomplishments have included developing a company culture that prioritizes safety, establishing a risk assessment system, and banning the use of cell phones for company business while driving.

"Safety is a true indicator of not only manufacturing excellence, but also overall operating performance," added Thaman. "Our success in keeping employees safe has set the bar for how we perform in the market and with our suppliers, customers and each other."

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Osmose wood preservation business sold to Koppers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Pittsburgh-based Koppers Inc. agreed to acquire the Wood Preservation and Railroad Services business of Osmose Holdings for $460 million.

Revenues for the acquired businesses in 2013 were about $390 million. 

Koppers president and CEO Walt Turner described the acquisition as a complimentary move. “Importantly, the business culture of Osmose is closely aligned with that of Koppers, which should provide for a smooth integration allowing us to fully capture synergies and realize the earnings and margin accretion that we have identified during our due diligence process.” 

Osmose’s Wood Preservation business is a global leader in developing, manufacturing and marketing wood preservation chemicals and wood treatment technologies. Last year’s sales were about $350 million, according to the announcement. Osmose’s railroad services included bridge inspection, engineering, maintenance and repair generated about $40 million in 2013 revenues.

In a letter to customers, Osmose executives described the move as a positive for the company and its customers.

"Osmose Wood Preserving will continue to operate as it has with very little visible change to our customers and markets," read a letter signed by Osmose senior VPs Steve Reeder and Gary Converse. "We look forward to serving our customers as we always have, and we consider this acquisition to be a very postivite development for Osmose and our customers’ future success."

The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter of 2014.

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