Owens Corning operates in the PINK. Famous for its Pink Panther mascot and its trademarked PINK glass fiber insulation, the company is a top global maker of building and composite material systems. Its building materials segment, which accounts for more than 60% of sales, makes insulation, roofing and asphalt, and other materials for the residential and commercial markets. Its composite products segment makes glass fiber reinforcement materials for the transportation, industrial, infrastructure, marine, wind energy, and consumer markets. Owens Corning has operations in about 30 countries in the Americas, Europe, Africa, and the Asia/Pacific region.
As a result of the global financial crisis and a slowdown in the construction industry in 2008 and 2009, building materials suppliers in general experienced a significant downturn in sales. Owens Corning took cost-cutting actions to weather the economic storm. The company reduced production and cut its workforce by about 10%. In late 2010 the company sold half of its Masonry Products business to Boral Industries. Owens Corning will sell the remaining half to Boral in 2014, and will receive at least $90 million in the deal. In another divestiture, the company sold its glass reinforcement facility in Brazil in 2011.
The cost-cutting and capital-raising actions, along with a recovering economy, helped Owens Corning improve revenues in 2010 and again in 2011 (sales were up 7% in that year alone). The success was due to an increased global demand for Owens Corning's products (especially its composites segment and roofing materials business). A slowly recovering economy in the US dragged down demand in the US, however, the company managed to see sales improvements thanks to pricing adjustments and manufacturing efficiencies.
Growing global demand has motivated the company to make investments in its composites business, which supplies the industrial, energy, and residential markets. Its OCV Reinforcements and OCV Technical Fabrics units provide lightweight alternatives for steel, wool, and aluminum. Owens Corning opened a new reinforcements manufacturing plant in China in 2010 and a glass fiber manufacturing facility there the following year. The plants significantly increased Owens Corning's capacity in China and will support growing demand in Asian markets. Another composites plant is slated to open in China in 2012. The company also is expanding other facilities in Russia and Mexico. At the same time, Owens Corning is balancing out composites production by reducing inventory in places such as Europe, where demand has been lower.
Back at home Owens Corning's strategy is to position itself as the construction market recovers. Anticipated growth in the US housing industry has Owens Corning optimistic that there will be continued success despite a few challenges in other markets.
The company in 2011 expanded its relationship with Masco to become the main insulation provider for Masco Contractor Services. Masco will install Owens Corning's eco-friendly insulation for clients. Also in 2011, Owens Corning strengthened its loosefill (blow-in) insulation business with the acquisition of FiberTEK Insulation and FiberTEK Insulation West. The deal included manufacturing plants in Florida and Utah.
Owens Corning also is focusing on developing sustainable, energy-efficient products. Its new EcoTouch insulation product was designed to meet demands for green building materials. Owens Corning also established the first roof shingle recycling program in the US in 2009. – less