Insulation industry news from Global Insulation
US: A fire reported at Owens Corning’s insulation plant in Newark, Ohio on 25 March 2017 is the latest in a series of such events at the site. The fire is believed to have started in the plant’s insulation system before spreading to a few rooms and the roof of a building, according to the Newark Advocate newspaper. It is the third significant fire at the site since 2013 following incidents in November 2013 and January 2014. Owens Corning has said that it takes the safety of its employees seriously and that it has taken ‘numerous’ actions to minimise the risk of fires at the plant.
US: William W Boeschenstein, the former chairman and chief executive officer of Owens Corning has died. He joined the company in 1950 and served as chief executive officer from 1973 to 1990, and chairman from 1981 to 1990. He was the son of Owens Corning's first chief executive officer, Harold Boeschenstein. These two men led the company for more than 50 years.
"Bill's strong values and commitment to integrity created a culture that is still thriving today at Owens Corning," said Mike Thaman, Owens Corning chairman and chief executive officer. "As a former colleague and personal friend, Bill will be missed for his contributions to the company, and for his generous support to our community."
Boeschenstein graduated from Yale University and served in the US Army Air Force during World War II, prior to joining Owens Corning. Under his leadership as chief executive officer, Boeschenstein shaped both the direction of the company and its industries. During this tenure, Owens Corning grew its annual sales from approximately US$615m to approximately US$3bn. Highlights of Boeschenstein career include resisting a hostile takeover in the 1980s and maintaining the company’s independence. He was also instrumental in Owens Corning's decision to utilise the Pink Panther in its advertising to link the colour of its insulation to the cartoon character.
US: Owens Corning’s net sales of insulation have fallen by 6% year-on-year to US$1.75bn in 2016 from US$1.85bn in the same period in 2015. Earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) fell by 21% to US$126m from US$160m. The company previously said that it expected negative revenue growth in 2016 due to a contractual dispute with a large residential customer that began early in the second quarter of 2016. In the second half of 2016 it reported stable pricing and market recovery with its residential fibreglass insulation business. Overall, Owens Corning’s sales and EBIT rose across all business lines.
US: Owens Corning has received asthma and allergy friendly certification for its Pure Safety insulation product. It says it is the first such product to earn the certification from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA). The product has less dust than comparable products and is mould and mildew resistant.
"We saw an opportunity to address the needs of over 70 million people with asthma and allergies. Caring about indoor air quality is just one way Owens Corning is committed to leveraging our building science expertise and insulation systems to create better, more sustainable and more comfortable homes," said Julian Francis, president of insulation, Owens Corning.
The Asthma and Allergy Friendly Certification Program was created in 2016. It is administered by the AAFA and Allergy Standards Limited. The program independently tests and identifies consumer products that are more suitable for those living with asthma and allergies using the Synthetic Home Insulation Products Standard, which addresses a product's effect on indoor air quality and capacity to resist mould growth.
US: Owens Corning’s insulation sales have fallen by 4% year-on-year to US$1.28bn in the first nine months of 2016 from US$1.33bn in the same period in 2015. Its earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) fell by 7.8% to US$83m from US$90m. The company described the US new residential construction market as ‘competitive’ and said that it expects its insulation revenue in 2016 to drop by 5%. However, it believes that pricing stabilised late in the summer of 2016 and that the mid-term outlook for this business remains unchanged.
Across all businesses, the company reported that its net sales rose by 5.9% to US$4.29bn from US$4.05bn and that its EBIT rose by 37% to US$563m from US$410m. It also mentioned the strong performance of its roofing business in the third quarter of 2016.
US: Owens Corning’s sales revenue has risen by 7% year-on-year to US$2.78bn in the first half of 2016 from US$2.61bn in the same period in 2016. Its net earnings rose by 78% to US$198m from US$111m. However, sales revenue for its insulation business fell by 4% to US$799m from US$830m. No reason for the decline in insulation revenue was given, but the company expects slightly negative revenue growth and relatively flat margins to continue for the full year.
Unigulf helps Arabian Fiberglass Insulation Company gain fibreglass certification from Dubai Civil Defence27 June 2016
UAE: Unigulf Group has helped the Arabian Fiberglass Insulation Company (AFICO) to gain certification from the Dubai Civil Defence (DCD) for its complete range of fibreglass products. The certification now offers AFICO access for its products to a wider range of contractors, according to TradeArabia.
"We worked closely with AFICO towards acquiring the DCD certificate for its entire range of insulation and acoustic products," said Prakash Chablani, the managing director of Unigulf Group. "At a time when the DCD is tightening the fire safety guidelines in the Emirate, the approval reinforces the need to conform with rules and regulations.”
AFICO is a joint venture with US-based Owens Corning and a member of Gulf Insulation Group under Zamil Industrial Company. Established in 1981 with operations in Dammam, Saudi Arabia the company is now one of the single largest manufacturers of fibreglass insulation in the region.
The DCD certification process includes a range of quality control tests and inspections of production plants as well as consistent testing of products. It also includes technical product tests conducted by third-party laboratories and inspections to test factory safety procedures and to evaluate the knowledge and skills of the technicians involved in the manufacturing process.
US: Owens Cornings has reported that net sales for its insulation business rose by 6% year-on-year to US$1.85bn in 2015 from US$1.75bn in 2014. Its earnings before interest and taxation (EBIT) rose by 48% to US$160m from US$108m.
Overall, the roofing, insulation and composites manufacturer saw its net sales rise slightly to US$5.35bn in 2015 from US$5.26bn in 2014. Net earnings rose by 46% to US$334m from US$228m.
“Strong operational and commercial execution drove significant earnings growth in all three of our businesses, resulting in the best year of earnings growth in the history of our company,” said Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Mike Thaman.
For its insulation business, the company expects revenue growth and margin expansion to be weaker in 2016 than 2015. It noted that its prospects are dependent upon the progression of pricing and volume in the US residential new construction market.
Canada: An Owens Corning fiberglass insulation plant in Edmonton has been ordered to monitor its emissions following a fire in early January 2016. The fire on 4 January 2016 damaged the plant's secondary air scrubber on its insulation batting production line.
Without the second scrubber the plant is contravening its Environmental Protection and Enhancement Act approval. A remedial solution to replace the curing oven's secondary air scrubber could take more than six months to implement.
As part of an enforcement order Owens Corning must monitor and notify Alberta Environment and Parks of any significant deviation from normal performance of the primary air emission scrubber on the curing oven. If the plant exceeds any air emission limits then production must immediately stop. Additional monitoring on the curing oven stack, including manual stack surveys, and an approved ambient air-monitoring plan are also required.
US: US developer Invenergy has signed a 125MW wind power purchase agreement with Owens Corning. When completed, Invenergy's Wake Wind facility in Texas will provide Owens Corning with power sufficient to supply 32,000 homes each year. Invenergy will also help Owens Corning support the wind power industry, a market to which the company supplies glass fibre reinforcements.
"Owens Corning has a long history of delivering energy-efficiency improvements through our products and in our operations," said Owens Corning Chief Sustainability Officer Frank O"Brien-Bernini. "Our ambitious and impactful greenhouse gas reduction goal is being made more achievable by collaborating with great partners, like Invenergy, to execute large scale wind energy agreements like this."
"Over the last few years there has been a seismic shift in the way corporate customers like Owens Corning have thought about the value proposition of renewable energy. Not only is it good for the environment, it's good for the bottom line," said Invenergy's Sales and Marketing Lead Craig Gordon. "By acting now, these customers are taking advantage of extremely competitive long-term wind energy pricing, as well as facilitating the transition to a sustainable and clean energy economy."