UK Parent Closes Westcrowns Inc.

The UK parent of Westcrowns Inc., the sole U.S.-distributor of Pilkington's Profilit glazing system, pulled the plug on the Charlotte, N.C. office Friday afternoon and abruptly shut down the U.S. operation after it became clear that it would no longer have that exclusive position with the product.

According to industry sources, Pilkington and Westcrowns have been in negotiations for the past month or so on whether the current relationship is going to be maintained, while, at the same time, Pilkington has been talking to other potential distributors for the product.

Speculation is that Westcrowns, which is a privately held UK company, saw no advantage to continuing the U.S. operation and financing it when other competitors would be selling the same Profilit product.

Alternative speculation is that Pilkington started looking for other sources of distribution because it did not think it was getting as many sales for the product as it should.

Westcrowns Inc. was launched in 1999. The company's office in Charlotte, N.C. was closed effective 5 p.m. Friday afternoon. Geoff Card was president of the operation. A notice on the Web site states, "This situation has been caused by circumstances outside our control and the board of directors concluded that closure was the only option available."

The Westcrowns group is a 130 year old, fourth generation family business. Its four core businesses deliver products and services to the glass, glazing and flooring industries in the UK, Europe and the USA. It has over 300 employees operating from 4 UK locations and the now closed location in North Carolina.

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