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.