The AZEK Company, based in Chicago but with a large manufacturing plant in Wilmington — commonly known here by the “TimberTech” brand name — went public Friday with an Initial Public Offering (IPO) on the New York Stock Exchange.
AZEK is “an industry-leading designer and manufacturer of beautiful, low-maintenance and environmentally sustainable products focused on the highly attractive, fast-growing outdoor living market.”
AZEK’s outdoor living products, including decking, are sold under the TimberTech brand; its Exteriors products, which includes trim, are sold under the AZEK Exteriors and Versatex brands.
Founded in 1983, AZEK employs approximately 1,500 people with factories in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Minnesota.
The two Wilmington plants — one 518,000 square feet and the other 103,000 square feet — employ nearly 550 workers.
Going public “puts us in a position to continue our long-term growth,” Jon Skelly, AZEK’s Senior Vice President of Strategy & Execution, told the News Journal early Friday afternoon.
What does going public mean specifically to Clinton County?
“When you look at Wilmington, a couple of examples are the building of our 100,000 square-foot recycling facility that we added last year,” said Skelly. “It was a really important investment in the company and in the community, to where we’re taking plastic waste and we’re turning it into beautiful, long-lasting building products.”
Sustainability is at the core of what AZEK does — in 2019 alone, AZEK used nearly 300 million pounds of waste, which would otherwise likely end up in landfills, in the production of its products through its recycling programs.
“In addition, Wilmington is where we do a lot of our research and development,” Skelly said. “We roughly doubled the size of our research and development team over the past few years, and that team is responsible for helping to create a lot of the new products we bring to market. And every time we bring a new product to market, it allows us to attract more consumers and grow the business.”
Skelly continued, “Now as we transition to being a public company, we have a new capital structure that provides us with more money to continue investing in our business, allows us to continue to expand the product line, and to continue to make investments in recycling.”
Skelly said AZEK has grown 10 percent in the last five years, and that growth has been accelerating recently.
Over the last 12 months ending March 31, AZEK reported a 15.8 percent year-over-year growth. In 2019, AZEK’s net sales were $794 million, and $848 million over the last 12 months ending March 31.
“Long-term growth leads to more job opportunities,” Skelly said.
He added that “it’s not only an exciting day for us — we’re excited for each team member.
“It’s a sign of our values; every employee in the company is going to be granted shares of stock, Wilmington included — that’s something we’re really proud of and excited about.”
Skelly joined AZEK in January 2018 and is based at the company’s corporate office in Chicago. Prior to joining AZEK, Skelly held leadership positions at market-leading distribution and building products companies including W. W. Grainger and The Home Depot.
AZEK also has two facilities in Scranton, Pennsylvania totaling about 900,000 square feet and employing another 520 workers. There are three other plants, including a 97,000 square-foot facility in Ashland, Ohio employing 76 workers.
AZEK products provide a lower maintenance alternative to traditional materials like wood, and allow consumers to build beautiful outdoor living spaces without the hassle of ongoing maintenance such as sanding, staining and painting.
Within the decking market specifically, wood represents approximately 80 percent of the total market, presenting substantial material conversion opportunities for AZEK’s products, according to the company.
AZEK estimates that 72 percent of its revenue is driven by repair and remodel.