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Building material producer Owens Corning (OC - Snapshot Report) has taken over the mineral wool commercial and industrial insulation products manufacturer Thermafiber Inc.

The acquisition includes a145,000-square-foot manufacturing location of Thermafiber located in Wabash, IN. The buyout provides Owens Corning with a broad insulation portfolio of fiberglass, foam and mineral wool insulation products.

The insulation produced by Thermafiber contains up to 90 percent recycled content and is non-combustible, inorganic and mold-resistant. It is used in fire blankets, fire block and curtain wall applications in commercial, residential, and industrial markets.

Recently, in March 2013, Toledo, OH-based Owens Corning entered into a strategic alliance with leading chemical company BASF and a multi-national thermoplastic producer, TenCate Advanced Composites. Under the alliance the two companies will work together to develop thermoplastic composites for mass production of automobiles in an attempt to make vehicles lighter, durable, environment friendly and more fuel efficient.

Owens Corning which produces residential and commercial building materials, glass-fiber reinforcements and engineered materials for composite systems is slowly gaining momentum from improving new home demand.

With the overall new home construction market improving steadily, building and other construction material companies like Vulcan Materials Company (VMC - Analyst Report) and Eagle Materials Inc. (EXP - Snapshot Report) as well as building product makers Masco Corporation (MAS - Analyst Report) and Louisiana-Pacific Corporation (LPX - Snapshot Report) are seeing a concomitant rise in demand and volume.

The housing market has steadily made a comeback from the lows witnessed in mid-2006 from the severe and widespread downturn. The stability in the home buying market, combined with low interest rates and increased rentals, has increased the affordability of homes.

The U.S. housing market has seen significant upside in new home sales volume for 2012 with industry-wide sales increasing roughly 25% from prior-year levels. New home construction activity improved 25% in 2012. Faced with the fiscal cliff at 2012 end, and the threat of sequestration and a mounting national debt, the recovery of the housing market was one bright spot on the U.S. economic horizon.

Owens Corning currently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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