First Arch, then Vitro America, now UGC. Who's next?

First, Sun Capital Partners bought Arch Aluminum & Glass Co. Then, a Sun Capital affiliate purchased United Glass Corp. With a $5 billion investment fund at its disposal and an interest in "acquiring or partnering with other market-leading companies in the architectural glass sector," the question now is: Who's next?

Sun Capital isn't the only private investment firm eying the glass industry. After an attempt to purchase Arch back in 2009, Grey Mountain Partners resurfaced this spring with the announcement that it would purchase the assets of Vitro America and Super Sky Products.

Emerging from all of this buying activity is a new type of competitor: the private investment firm.

What effect will this new breed of glass company have on the industry? In a recent interview, Glass Magazine asked Russ Huffer, chairman and CEO of Apogee Enterprises Inc. and acting president of Viracon, for his take on non-glass companies competing against industry mainstays. His response: "Troubled economic times make for change. It would be presumptuous of me to say that a new view or new ideas cannot be successful. Not being familiar with [the buying companies], I cannot comment, but usually people with money have great business sense, and that is what I expect."

What do you expect? 

Chase is editor of Glass Magazine. Write her at jchase@glass.org.

Comments

I will expect to see Vitro America owned by Sun Capital and not Grey Mountain, this addition to Sun Capital’s previous acquisitions will only enhance the overall performance and capabilities of all three business units.Arch has fair coverage, decent metal systems, bad service and good market share UGC has fair coverage, solid product offering no metal systems and great service Vitro strong glass products, Super Sky, fair coverage and a new metals division This will provide the ability to Lean up operations around the US, dump the losing assets and become a real player in the market Like you said those who have money seem to know where to invest it.J Davy Jones  

You hit the nail on the head.With Sun Capital in control of Vitro they will merge the companies and have a streamline operation with little to no compitition.The downside to this is all the lost jobs in the industry.

I expect it will be a great time to be a well-positioned independent

Are you kidding? These buyers exist only to do the nasty stuff that the previous owners didnt have the guts to do. They will slash costs and focus on only the narrowest most profitable areas of the businesses they bought. Sure they will consolidate within their empires. But the two capital companies are competing and make money by savaging the previous owners. They don't make money off each other so I wouldn't expect them to team up.

I EXPECT SUN CAPITAL OR GREY MOUNTAIN TO DO WHAT THEY DO BEST,THAT IS BUY DISTRESSED COMPANIES AT ROCK BOTTOM PRICES,THEN SELL OFF ASSETS OF THOSE COMPANIES TILL THEY TURN THE PURCHASE INTO PROFIT.THEY HAVE NO KNOWLEDGE OF THE GLASS OR ALUMINUM BUSINESS AND HAVE NO DESIRE TO LEARN HOW TO TAKE THESE COMPANIES BACK TO PROFITABILITY.