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Slight dip in sales at Ply Gem

BY Brae Canlen

Ply Gem, a leading manufacturer of siding, windows, doors and other exterior products, reported net sales of $294.5 million for its second fiscal quarter, a 2.4% drop from sales in the same quarter last year.

Excluding $2.7 million of buyback expense associated with a significant new customer win, second-quarter operating earnings were $28.5 million compared with $30.3 million for the second quarter of 2010.

In a prepared statement, company president and CEO Gary Robinette said he was satisfied with Ply Gem’s sales and adjusted EBITDA for both the second quarter and the first half of 2011. “Despite single-family housing starts being down 17% in the first half of 2011 as compared with the prior year, Ply Gem’s sales only showed a modest 2.2% decline, reflecting a significant new customer win and further demonstrating our ability to gain profitable market share,” Robinette said. “Given that market conditions for 2011 are expected to remain challenging, Ply Gem will continue to focus on maintaining a lean overall cost structure, while maximizing cash flow and striving to outperform the marketplace in all business units, which will ensure that Ply Gem emerges stronger as the housing market recovers." 

Headquartered in Cary, N.C., Ply Gem produces a product line of vinyl siding, designer accents and skirting, vinyl fencing and vinyl and composite railing, stone veneer and vinyl windows and doors used in both new construction and home repair and remodeling in the United States and western Canada. The company also manufactures aluminum-clad windows, steel, fiberglass and patio doors. Its products are sold through two-step distributors, pro dealers, home improvement dealers and big-box retailers.

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BlueLinx signs credit agreement in Canada

BY Brae Canlen

BlueLinx Holdings, a leading distributor of building products in North America, announced that its indirect subsidiary BlueLinx Building Products Canada has entered into a revolving credit agreement with CIBC Asset-Based Lending. The new credit facility provides for borrowing capacity of up to $10 million and has a term of three years, maturing on Aug. 12, 2014.

In addition, the credit facility provides for an additional $5 million uncommitted accordion credit facility, which would permit the company to increase the maximum amount of borrowing capacity up to $15 million.

"We are pleased to secure this new revolving credit facility with CIBC," said Doug Goforth, BlueLinx chief financial officer and treasurer. "The availability of this new credit facility provides us additional financial flexibility to execute our growth plans in Canada at attractive rates and enhances our liquidity position." 

Headquartered in Atlanta, BlueLinx Holdings serves approximately 11,500 customers nationwide, including dealers, industrial manufacturers, manufactured housing producers and home improvement retailers. The company operates its distribution business from sales centers in Atlanta and Denver, and its network of 60 distribution centers. 

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Building green finally profitable, Oregon builders say

BY Brae Canlen

A group of builders in Eugene, Ore., who consider themselves early pioneers of the green building movement say their businesses have finally turned profitable, even during the downturn. Interviewed for an article in the Oregon Register Guard, these contractors, designers and architects now find themselves in a multimillion-dollar niche market.

While not every firm is successful, a mixture of local government incentives and public awareness has made green building projects more popular.  RainbowValley Design and Construction, a 40-year-old firm, said it was once wary about marketing itself as green. But that stigma has turned into a calling card, and the company, which has offices in Portland and Eugene, has an established reputation for sustainable design and construction.

“People know that we do green building,” said company designer Alec Dakers. “Now we get a lot of people that walk in the door asking for specific products. We don’t really have to pitch it at all.”

Several of the construction firms interviewed said they’ve had to adapt to the slowdown by taking on more remodeling work instead of just new construction. And projects tend to be smaller. But the work keeps coming in the door, and revenues for green building far exceed what they did in previous years.

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