There’s a lot going on in our industry right now in the background. You wouldn’t call it calm.
That stormy outlook got a little rougher today as Masco Corporation, based in New York and owns the UK Window Group released an article on their global website explaining that they are going to “explore strategic alternatives” for the company. Pure business speak. But we know what that means.
You can read the full article from Masco in the US by clicking here.
In the article is talks about other core businesses, such as their Cabinetry business and other speciality products. But for the UK window industry, this is the paragraph that matters:
Over the past five years, we have been executing our strategy to drive the full potential of our core businesses, leverage opportunities across our organization, and actively manage our portfolio to drive shareholder value,” said Keith Allman, Masco’s President and CEO. “Our Cabinetry and Window businesses are leaders in their respective markets and are well positioned to continue their growth. However, we believe we can potentially drive greater shareholder value by exploring strategic alternatives for these businesses. We expect to complete this review by the end of June.
If there was ever going to be an official definition of 100% pure business speak, this would be it. In short, what this actually says is that things have gone well up to now, but problems are arising and changes have to be made to keep things profitable. And when a company says “explore strategic alternatives” this generally isn’t a positive statement.
It’s vague too. What it actually means is the potential for companies to be sold, or jobs to be lost, or companies to be closed. I have read on other sites today similar summations and I tend to agree. There is a chance that this means many jobs could be on the line. For some background, the UK Window Group consists of: DURAFLEX™, GRIFFIN™, PREMIER™, PHOENIX DOORS™ and EVOLUTION™. All well known names in the UK fenestration sector.
Masco’s review process won’t be complete until June, so we won’t know anything until then. But it may well be July until we know of their decisions, unless it leaks out here beforehand.
This news comes as our industry looks set to enter quite a turbulent period.
I would say industry chatter is in fifth gear at the moment around a number of issues, which will only continue. But the change in the overall feel of the industry from January to February has been incredibly stark.
We started in the first month of the year in a far more positive stance than I think we all thought we would have. The conversations I was having with my installer and fabricator friends were that the year had started far better than predicted. I even got excited enough to write a post about it and explore the idea that Q1 of this year might not be as bad as we thought.
Then February came, and that positive mood seemed to have drained away just as quick as it came. I’m not going to ramble on about the general mood of the industry right now, that will come in a separate post to this. But, the conversations I was having with my various friends in various parts of the supply chain sounded a hell of a lot more cautious compared to just a few weeks ago. Speaking honestly, it does feel as though someone applied the brakes as soon as February came. At least that’s how it felt round this neck of the woods. It might not be the same everywhere, but it feels very much like it did pre-EU vote. Home owners happy to show interest in home improvement work, but then choosing to wait until after the big day to make a decision. I think March could be the same if not worse.
So there’s turbulence when it comes to home owners, but there’s movement within the industry as well. Companies relocating back home their production. Businesses being bought and sold. Flood doors and fire doors failing. Security crisis across the country with break-ins. And that isn’t everything I can mention on here.
I feel as though we’re about to head into a very rocky four weeks in the run up to Brexit day. Assuming that the original timetable remains the same, which looks unlikely at this stage.
Buckle up, it’s going to get bumpy.
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