By Marianne Curtis
A century old dynasty has come to an end with the announcement that Loewen Windows in Steinbach has been sold to VKR Holdings of Denmark.
Clyde Loewen, leader of the Loewen family shareholder group made the announcement to employees at the beginning of the day on June 30.
“Through much consideration, the Loewen family shareholders have come to the collective decision that the needs of the Company and those of the Loewen shareholders would be best served through a transition of ownership to a new ownership group,” stated Loewen. “We believe that VKR will bring the resources, capabilities and character to ensure the future success of Loewen in the marketplace while maintaining respect for all of its stakeholders as well as for the culture of the staff and the community.”
Loewen Windows has been around since 1905. Since then the owners of the company has grown to include several generations of family members.
Loewen added that while the company will be changing hands, the head office and manufacturing plant will remain in Steinbach.
The existing executive team will also remain in place. Al Babiuk, previously Chief Operating Officer, will assume the Chief Executive Officer role, with Clyde Loewen remaining as Executive responsible for products. The other members of the Loewen Executive team will remain in their positions. Charles Loewen will sit as a member of the Board of Directors of Loewen. Claes Warnander, a highly experienced member of VKR’s team, will act as Chairman of Loewen’s Board.
VKR Holding is based in Denmark and owns companies within roof windows, vertical windows, thermal solar energy plus ventilation and indoor climate. It has a total of approximately 14,000 employees in more than 40 countries. VKR Holding is owned by foundations and by family and its main shareholder is the foundation Villum Fonden.
VKR CEO Leif Jensen stated that the acquisition fits in with VKR Holding’s strategy.
“The Canadian and American markets have been affected by severe decline in the last three years,” added Jensen. “The markets are slowly stabilizing, and we see great potential in Loewen, not least because the company holds a strong niche position in the high end segment of the market and engages in extensive product development.”
Under the new ownership, the corporate strategy will continue to be to focus on the luxury segment of the North American market.