A tweet from the @glasstimes Twitter account reads as follows: 

“The Epwin Group and Latium have merged with immediate effect to create Epwin Holdings, a 275million turnover building products group.”

To be honest, I’m a little bit gutted I didn’t know anything about this! But I’ll get over it!

My immediate reaction was one of surprise. But then again, we all expected further consolidation of the double glazing market, and this announcement goes to prove what many people were thinking. 

The name ‘Epwin Holdings’ interests me. In the tweet it says there was a merger, but the retention of the Epwin name makes me wonder if Epwin Group actually bought out Latium. And if there was a buy-out, my next question would be about potential job losses. Will there be any? If so, how many? When would the axe fall?

How much of Latium is likely to be retained? Would Latium be swallowed up by Epwin? Will their products disappear over time? Will Epwin take on some of Latiums best products and improve and focus on them?

These are just my initial thoughts and questions on the matter. Once more details are flooded into Twitter and the online magazines, I’ll be able to make a better judgement on this announcement.

UPDATE: here is the press release from the Ewpin Group:

The Epwin Group and Latium have merged with immediate effect

[17/1/12] to create a significant and diverse new UK building products group.

Including established Epwin brands, Profile 22, Swish Window and Door Systems, Swish Building Products and Sierra amongst others, alongside Latium companies Spectus, Kestrel-BCE and glass processing business CET – the agreement creates a new group with a combined turnover in excess of £275m.

With more than 2,500 employees, the company, Epwin Holdings, will be led by a new senior board chaired by Epwin Group founder Jim Rawson and including Latium owner, Brain Kennedy, the existing shareholders.

Jim Rawson, chairman, Epwin Holdings, said: “This is a major opportunity for the UK building products industry. In bringing together many of it’s leading businesses, in a British run, British owned group, we have the resource to invest in individual brands, product innovation and service, grow our business and most importantly, support our customers across sectors in doing the same.”

He added: “We don’t expect any significant changes to the operational structure of Group businesses in the medium term – this is very much business as usual for customers, employees and suppliers.”

The Epwin Group was founded by Rawson in 1976. Floated on the Stock Exchange in 1987, it was brought back into private ownership in 2000. More than a decade on, it continues to deliver a lead in technology and sustainable innovation to the UK building product industry.

Latium companies, owned by entrepreneur and investor Brian Kennedy were acquired, in part, from Heywood Williams in 2005.

Funding for the merged group has been provided exclusively by Barclays Corporate, Bristol.

Brian Kennedy said: “There is a very strong commercial fit between Latium and Epwin businesses and the merger creates tremendous new opportunities for both employees, customers and suppliers.”

“It has both the stability and financial resource to see out challenges and to secure new opportunities, something which we are confident will deliver advantages for not just it’s member businesses but customers and the building products industry more broadly.”

For further information visit www.epwin.co.uk

I hope that all the mentions of new opportunities and chances for growth and prosperity come to fruition. There have been too many company take overs, not just in the window industry but all others, where job losses has been the immediate focus. It says in the statement that in the medium-term, there will be no changes in regards to employees. But it does leave the door open a little bit in terms of long-term restructuring. But all in all, a very positive statement. I wish all companies involved the best of luck!