Industry Reacts to Latest Chapter 11 Filing
January 6, 2010

Yesterday's announcement that International Aluminum had filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy (CLICK HERE for related story) seemed to remind glass and metal industry professionals that the "tough times" of 2009 had not been left behind.

As Peter John De Gorter, Sr., commented on the USGNN.com™ message forum yesterday (CLICK HERE for more), "Be prepared, there will be more that are going to file this year." That prediction, when measured alongside today's forecast from the American Institute of Architects that nonresidential construction spending may actually decrease 13.4 percent in 2010 (CLICK HERE for related story), seems telling indeed.

The aluminum industry in particular has had a tough time, or so Bonnell Aluminum director of sales and marketing Ira Endres said during a trade show in October 2009. As Endres stated, "The recession that we're currently in for the aluminum extrusion industry really started in mid-2006. We started to see the downturn in the residential markets and, just to give you an idea of how deep it is, this time around the industry shipments through 2009 as compared to 2006 are projected to be down about 45 percent; year over year through August industry shipments are going to be down probably about 32 percent." (CLICK HERE and turn to page 64 for related story.)

Other professionals in the aluminum industry are sympathizing with this announcement as well. "As a former associate of U.S. Aluminum Corp. at the height of an expansion phase nearly 20 years ago, I was saddened to hear news of the significant challenges the organization is now facing," comments Oliver Stepe, senior vice president of YKK AP America. "This news, in combination with many other significant events this past year, truly exposes the depth of the impact that the current business climate has had on our industry. It further reinforces the importance of a careful and steady hand in navigating business process and strategy through times of adversity."

Other fabricators continue to hope for the best as the latest bankruptcy moves through the courts.

"As someone who has worked with International/U.S. Aluminum on both the residential and commercial sides, I think first of the people involved. From the plant managers and workers to the sales guys, this group has always shown a strong work ethic," says Pete Chojnacki, president of FabTech. "Let's all hope that bankruptcy can help them move forward."

Chojnacki adds, "On the other hand, I feel for the creditors and what this does to their financial position. Bottom line, it is a sign of the tough times."

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