Top 100 Manufacturers of 2008

It's been a tough year
John G. Swanson
February 1, 2008
SPECIAL FEATURES | Segments

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The downturn in housing hit the industry hard in 2007. The impact can be seen throughout the 2008 edition of the Window & Door Top 100, our annual feature presenting North America’s 100 largest manufacturers of residential windows, doors and/or skylights, based on sales volumes.

Going beyond providing numbers, our annual rankings highlight the recent activities of the industry’s movers and shakers. This year’s report suggests that the weakness in housing, not to mention a pretty anemic remodeling and replacement market, has translated into a lot less moving and shaking. While a handful of companies expanded operations last year, we may have set an ignominious new record for plant closings. And while there were a few big deals, the pace of acquisitions within the industry appears to have slowed as well.

PLANT CLOSINGS
A trickle of plant closings and other belt-tightening moves began in 2006, and unfortunately that trend only picked up steam in 2007. Among our 2008 Top 100, Atrium, Elixir, Masonite, MI, Peachtree, Pella, Simonton, Stock Building Supply, Therma-Tru and Woodgrain have all shut down production and/or distribution facilities over the past year or so. A manufacturer in last year’s Top 100, Barber & Ross Co., closed its doors completely and is still in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings.

A handful of companies moved into previously started new facilities in 2007, but the Top 100 saw few groundbreaking ceremonies last year. Only Jeld-Wen, enjoying a newly-expanded relationship with the Home Depot, appeared to buck the trend with its efforts to set up new plants in a number of spots around the country.

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As noted, there were a few significant deals made by Top 100 manufacturers last year. Pella looked beyond the residential market and added Efco Corp., a major producer of commercial and architectural fenestration products in August. Ply Gem, meanwhile, looked westward. Having amassed a portfolio of window and door manufacturers, the owner of MW, Great Lakes, and Alenco extended its reach to the West Coast with the acquisition of CertainTeed Corp.’ window manufacturing business.

The sluggishness in the market, however, appears to have also diminished the interest of private equity firms in our industry. Among the few deals bringing these outside investors into the business included the acquisition of a first-time Top 100 Manufacturer—Miami-based CGI Windows & Doors—by a New York-based group. The previously publicly-traded Gienow Group, one of Canada’s largest manufacturers, meanwhile, was acquired by a Miami-based investment group.

Speaking of Canada, it appears the relative health of the markets north of the border and the relative strength of the Canadian dollar (companies are ranked based on sales in U.S. dollars) were also influential in this year’s Top 100. Although some may have deserved to be in the rankings already, this year’s rankings include an influx of Canadian manufacturers not previously listed—including Durabuilt Windows, Fenplast in Quebec and TruTech Doors. Another Canadian manufacturer, Peter Kohler Windows, was one of the few companies to report it should be moved up a category in our rankings.

Due to the number of private companies in the industry, and the fact that many window and door manufacturers are hesitant to provide sales figures, Window & Door presents its Top 100 companies alphabetically within 10 sales range categories.

PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Not surprisingly, the Window & Door Top 100 does not change dramatically from year to year. In putting this feature together, we start with last year’s list, contacting individual companies to obtain information and confirmation directly from them. We also gather input from a number of industry experts as to what other companies should possibly be on this list.

In addition to contacting the companies themselves, we also use independent sources, such as Dun & Bradstreet, and information published elsewhere to determine which companies may belong in the rankings. Finally, we generally hear from one or two companies each year that haven’t been on our radar, but who tell us they should be included.

A few companies ask that we not include them and refuse to provide any information. We understand the sensitivity of releasing sales figures, and we attempt to respect that by presenting our Top 100 manufacturers in sales range categories. That being said, we cannot omit any manufacturer simply because it asks. Our primary mission is to provide the most accurate information to our readers. While we don’t think our Top 100 manufacturers is definitive, we do the best we can with the information available. 

No list is perfect, and we don’t make any definitive claims regarding the Top 100. There’s no doubt the numbers presented here are not comparable on an apples-to-apples basis. For many companies, sales volume figures also include products other than windows and doors. In other cases, sales volumes consist not only of manufacturing operations, but retail and/or distribution operations. Still, we believe the end result reflects the leading manufacturers in the residential marketplace, at least from a sales perspective.

We always look to make the Top 100 better, so by all means, if your company belongs on the list, let us know so we can recognize you properly. And if your company is on this list, but our estimates are wrong, please let us know. It is only with the cooperation of individual manufacturers that Window & Door’s Top 100 rankings can be as accurate as possible.

Questions or comments about this year’s rankings and requests to be included next year can be sent to Window & Door at 23 E. 10th St., Suite 101, New York, NY 10003 or send an e-mail to Window & Door editor John Swanson, at john@glass.org.

Finally, we note that annual sales are only one measure of success. Bigger profit margins, better quality measurements and higher customer satisfaction ratings may all make better yardsticks in comparing one company against another.
Inclusion in these rankings doesn’t necessarily make any manufacturer’s window or door better than a competitor’s offering. Still, we believe that our Top 100 reflects this industry’s leaders, at least from a sales perspective, and that the companies can be proud to be on the list.

See the Window & Door Top 100 Manufacturers of 2008

Download the complete 2008 Top 100 Manufacturers report

To be considered in the 2009 Top 100 Manufacturer's, click on the link below to download a form you can use to submit your company's information.