Farley Acquiring GBO Vinyl Window and Steel Door Operations

June 26, 2009

GBO Inc., parent company of Bonneville Windows & Doors, has entered into an agreement with Farley WinDoor Ltd., to sell the operating assets and related inventories of GBO's vinyl and steel door divisions. The transaction, valued at $12.5 million (CDN), includes a vinyl window plant in St-Joseph-de-Beauce, Que., as well as a steel door facililty in Lévis, Que.

Based in Alexandria, Ont., Farley Windows manufactures vinyl windows and doors for the replacement and new construction markets in both Canada and the U.S.  It is part of the Gienow Group, which also includes Gienow Building Products based in Calgary, Alta. Gienow recently completed a restructuring plan that included an equity investment from an affiliate of Bain Capital LLC.

That restructuring effort strengthened Gienow's balance sheet significantly, and this acquisition "really emphasizes that point," states Dominique Van Voorhis, Farley president.  For Gienow, the addition of the two operations expands the company's presence in Eastern Canada and also provides greater balance in the company product line between the new construction and retrofit markets, he reports also.  

Specifically, Van Voorhis points out that the Quebec market has some unique product demands and adding the GBO vinyl window line will provide Farley with the products and styles it needs to serve that market better.  The acquisition also adds entry doors to the Farley product line for the first time, he continues.  In addition to making this line available to Canadian customers, Farley also expects to provide its U.S. customers with new entrance door offerings as well. "We're extremely pleased with the acquisition and expect to do well with the new operations in the future," he concludes.

From GBO's perspective, the deal represents the latest step in recent years to concentrate on its core mission and primary expertise as a manufacturer of high-end wood window arrangements, doors and their accesories, says Christopher Wood, chairman.  "Over the past two years, in particular, we have invested substantially to completely reorganize and optimize the manufacturing operations of our Ste-Marie de Beauce (Quebec) plant, to equip this facility with cutting-edge equipment and to develop several new products. In fact, the broadening of our selection of architectural wood products not only underpins our leadership in Eastern Canada, but also spearheads our development strategy in the United States, which is an essential component of GBO's long-term strategy. This return to basics will enable us to focus the bulk of our resources and investments on our field of excellence, which is especially advantageous as the barriers to entry into the wood product segment are higher than into other categories of fenestration products."

The transaction with Farley is also financially beneficial to GBO, Wood points out. "First, it enables us to achieve an accretive return on the investments made in the past years to upgrade and improve the St-Joseph and Lévis facilities. Secondly, it further strengthens our balance sheet, which will give us greater leverage to continue investing in the continuous improvement of our selection of architectural wood products and customer service, as well as in the development of our Canadian and U.S. markets."

Founded in 1946, GBO was previously known as Groupe Bocenor.  The company, which employs approximately 500 people, manufactures and distributes a range of products sold primarily under the Bonneville and Polar brand names. The company sells its windows and doors to the home improvement and construction markets in Quebec, Ontario, the Maritimes and the Eastern United States. GBO mainly serves independent building material distributors, distributors specializing in windows, doors and millwork, certain retailers, as well as construction and renovation contractors.