International Architectural Group, parent of US Aluminum, files for Chapter 7

By Katy Devlin, Glass Magazine
May 11, 2011
COMMERCIAL, FABRICATION

International Architectural Group LLC, Monterey Park, Calif., has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The company, formerly International Aluminum Corp., is parent of United States Aluminum, International Extrusion, and Raco Interior Products, all based in Waxahachie, Texas, and International Window Corp., Hayward, Calif.

"I started to hear from several [US Aluminum] employees last night, and have talked to several today, who verified the company is closing their doors and filing Chapter 7," said J.D. Williams, former executive vice president of US Aluminum, who led the company for 21 years until his retirement in 2001. "It's just really and truly sad news."

"Right now, I'm kind of in shock," said Wendell Pate, a 27-year US Aluminum employee who has been serving as sales representative for eastern Kentucky, South Carolina, western North Carolina, West Virginia and western Virginia. "My boss called me at 6:30 this morning and told me the news, and it was certainly a surprise. We've been a good company, and have done a good job, especially when it comes to hurricane and blast material. Someone is going to have to fill that gap in the industry."

Duane Tuhy, head of Southern Architectural Sales, the US Aluminum sales representative for Arizona, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas, said he learned of the news Tuesday night. Tuhy said he is hearing "disbelief" from the industry. "US Aluminum was a company with very good name recognition and used to be one of the leaders of the industry," Tuhy said. "I was proud to have been associated with them for the last 19 years."

The last five years have been full of major changes for US Aluminum, its sister companies, and parent. "It's a totally different company than the one I worked for, though with the same operations," Williams said.

In January 2007, the private equity group Genstar Capital LLC, San Francisco, purchased International Aluminum in a transaction valued at $228 million—about $53 per share. "If you pay top dollar for a company, borrow money to finance the buy, and then the economy goes south, you're going to be in trouble. That's what happened at Genstar," Williams said.

In January 2010, International Aluminum filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and emerged in May 2010 under the name International Architectural Group LLC.

"What transpired from there was a continuing bad economy, and trying to run a business and service debt at the same time," Williams said.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all assets will be liquidated.

This morning, Glass Magazine contacted Tom Harris, who has served as US Aluminum's executive vice president since August 2010. Harris could not comment on the news. Subsequent attempts to contact the parent company have not yet yielded a response. Visit GlassMagazine.com for updates.