Industry reflections

Glass Times editor Nathan Bushell takes stock of the industry before we exit 2019.

Our two leading stories this week are, in some way, a reflection of the year that has passed.

Panoglass’s move to administration was arguably down to the precarious state of the glass market, where the current price of products sold don’t reflect the input costs. 

I don’t think Panoglass was inefficiently run – I visited the Northampton site earlier in the year, and the latest machinery was operated by a lean workforce. However, I’ve heard many glass processing companies complain how IGU prices remain stubbornly low, while the cost of flat glass (not helped by the recent glass shortages) only seems to go up.

Interestingly, Aperture sold Global Glass to Clayton at the end of October so maybe we’ll see more movement in the glass market in 2020.

The MBO of Window Widgets (incorporating Residence Collection) also reflects the way in which some brands position themselves in the market.

On the one hand, Masonite is a doors business, arguably buying the W3 Group for the Solidor brand. However, Residence Collection, as a brand, has proven to be rather adept at chiming with homeowners’ aspirations, and this could be better achieved – in its case – by an owner-managed business. It will be interesting to see how this develops over the coming months.

Of course, Solidor has also broken down some of those supply chain barriers, but it sits more comfortably with a doors-focused parent company.

I have no doubt that there will be more commercial activity in the coming year, especially now that we have been promised Brexit certainty, and we no longer have a hung parliament. But we’ll look at that in the new year.

Until then, all of us at Glass Times wish our readers a very Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.