Rolling up the "roll-up"

Tecta America's purchase of generalRoofing forms the biggest U.S. roofing company

Back in the summer of 1998, General Roofing Industries caused significant buzz when it became the first "roll-up" company in the roofing industry with 19 member companies. Headquartered at the time in Pompano Beach, Fla., the company was regarded by some as a pioneer and others as a risky venture. And in fact, it was a little of both.

Soon after General Roofing Industries formed, others followed, all with the same idea-to form a national roofing company that could capitalize on the synergies of multiple locations.

But during the next six years, General Roofing Industries faced numerous obstacles at the corporate level. It changed its name to General Roofing Services and then to generalRoofing. Its leadership changed, as well—several times—and by 2004, the company had landed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It then sold its controlling interest to Republic Financial Corp., Aurora, Colo., closed most of its 36 locations, settled its debt and emerged from bankruptcy in October 2004. In July, another consolidation—Tecta America Corp., Skokie, Ill.—purchased a majority of generalRoofing's operating assets from Republic Financial, making Tecta America the biggest roofing contracting company in the U.S. with 23 divisions, 47 locations and more than 3,000 employees. (For more information about Tecta America, see "Tecta at a glance," page 29.)

Two companies with the same goal followed two different management paths, and one corporate structure proved to be more resilient than the other.