Though the economy is showing signs of stabilising, and that we may after all not have been in a double-dip recession, there is still room in our industry for more takeovers and mergers.
The time for acquisitions is about right actually. With profit margins being squeezed for most companies at all levels of our sector, company valuations won’t be at their highest. Those companies with the spare cash and looking to be aggressive might find that now is the right time to go do a bit of shopping.
As far as I’m concerned, there are still too many companies in the manufacturing and systems side of things. There is still too much supply to cover demand. The industry isn’t booming, so the need for all the suppliers we have just isn’t there. And with the rise of Aluminium and Timber sales, PVC-focused companies will be finding that their market share might be diminishing a little.
So there is still plenty of room for more consolidation. And I have said before that this isn’t a bad thing. Previously, the industry grew fat, greedy and overweight. The boom years saw a big rise in the number of companies who thought that the fenestration industry was an ever growing cash cow that would keep on giving. Then the financial crisis and following recession hit consumer spending big time and we were left with an obese, inefficient fenestration sector with far too many companies trying to steal a slice of the ever shrinking pie. Think that food analogy worked…
Since 2008, if memory serves me correctly over 4000 companies in our sector have either gone bust or been bought out. Most will be small installation companies who just couldn’t cope with such a dramatic fall in UK spending. Though some of these will be the big deals that will stand out in most industry memories. The VEKA/Halo buyout for example. Plus, I still believe that a big merger/buyout is still possible between two of the larger systems companies in the industry.
Though it is never nice seeing anyone company being shut down, I still believe there is room for a lot more companies to go before our industry shrinks down to the right size to fit demand. In a perfect world, I would like to see those sorts of companies who do this disappear first: