Richmond, VA – Window and door giant Jeld-Wen Holding, Inc. (NYSE-JELD) has been ordered to divest itself of a competitor and door skin manufacturer CraftMaster Manufacturing, Inc., a business it acquired in 2012. The unanimous ruling is the latest turn in a long-running dispute between San Antonio-based Steves & Sons Doors, and the outlook seems to have worsened for Jeld-Wen after each trial.
When Jeld-Wen first announced its acquisition of Chicago-based CraftMaster Manufacturing, Inc. (CMI), it said the deal would give it access to new and proprietary technology, and increase its focus on environmentally-friendly wood composite exterior products, molded door facings and doors. CMI’s principal manufacturing facility in Towanda, PA has become a key element in the trial, since it is one of a limited number of source for the door facings that door manufacturers apply to the door core.
At the time of the acquisition, Steves & Sons had an ongoing agreement for supply of door facings by CMI, but over time had difficulty getting delivery, and felt Jeld-Wen was favoring itself and competitor Monsanto. Judges have agreed. Last April, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on ruled in favor of Steves and Sons, Inc. for a preliminary injunction against Jeld-Wen Holding, Inc.
Jeld-Wen has appealed adverse rulings along the way. In the latest trial, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, VA filed a 67-page unanimous opinion February 18 affirming a lower court’s order against Jeld-Wen, ordering it to divest CraftMaster Manufacturing, tough setting aside a multi-million-dollar loss of profits judgement approved by the lower court.
The contentious case saw both parties issuing their own recount of the court ruling. In dueling press releases, Jeld-Wen vows to fight on, and Steves & Sons gloated over the result, noting it is the largest divestiture ever ordered in a civil suit.
Steves & Sons, Inc. knows it will need the supply of door facings, recently investing $10 million and breaking ground on a 100,000 sq. ft. addition to its door manufacturing facility in San Antonio. It is expected to add approximately 70 new jobs and expanded door capacity upon completion soon.
“This is part of an overall effort to expand our production capacity,” say Steves & Sons CEO Edward Steves. “We expect to add required holding power of raw materials needed to support our expanded productivity with this new equipment.”
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