The company plans to direct its efforts to heating, energy efficiency and fire protection markets.

REHAUhas announced a strategic shift away from the production and sale of commodity products, and will exit municipal PVC pipe manufacturing and supply in Canada, as well as its business as a PEX plumbing systems supplier in the United States and Canada.

Production of municipal PVC pipe will end as of Oct. 31, 2008, with sales continuing through March 31, 2009. The company will also support PEX plumbing systems orders through March 31, 2009, and will provide full-scale customer assistance to ensure a smooth transition into alternative plumbing systems product lines thereafter.

“This decision is part of a significant company-wide initiative to hone our construction focus on high-performance polymer systems, which provide quality, energy-efficient solutions,” announced REHAU North America CEO Dr. Kathleen Saylor. “Having paved the way for products that have now become commodity entities in the marketplace, it is time for us to exit these markets and concentrate on advancing the next set of cutting-edge offerings for the construction industry.”

The company plans to direct its efforts toward establishing and further defining the market for integrated low-temperature heat source and distribution systems, including PEXa-based radiant heating, geothermal ground loop and solar thermal systems. 

REHAU will also concentrate on introducing or further defining the market for residential fire protection systems, radiant cooling systems and pre-insulated PEX energy transfer pipe. Additionally, the company will continue to fill a mid-term technology pipeline with innovations including biomass, ground-air heat exchange and rain water management solutions.

“We have come to this decision at a time when choice is still viable, and outside market conditions have not yet required us to formulate an urgent conclusion,” Saylor further announced. “It has resulted from careful consideration of the best path for REHAU’s long-term growth, as well as the need to continually address our customers’ dynamic requirements. We expect at the end of this process to be even stronger as a company, and to further exemplify REHAU’s dedication to the delivery of unlimited polymer solutions.”

Staff adjustments related to REHAU’s exit of the municipal PVC pipe industry include the loss of 40 positions at the company’s plant in Prescott, Ontario, which will indefinitely cease production of PVC pressure and sewer pipe at the end of this month. In addition, eight positions across REHAU’s North American headquarters and sales offices will be eliminated, and nine staff members will be reassigned to industrial and renewable energy product growth areas. 

A total of 22 positions tied to REHAU’s PEX plumbing systems business will also be eliminated across its headquarters, sales offices and related manufacturing plant, and an additional 10 employees will be reallocated to other areas of strategic focus. All staffing adjustments will commence immediately, with continued transition through March 2009.