Recently, Walls & Ceilings asked several manufacturers about their thoughts on where the industry is headed and their personal thoughts. Among those, Sto CEO and president Jose Berlingeri took time to answer a few questions.
The Atlanta-based EIFS manufacturer was candid in his thoughts on trends, the future, business and more.
W&C: How is business now?
Berlingeri: The business now is growing (double digits), and it’s been like this since the beginning of mid-last year. Challenges with inflation were an issue. So far, no slowdown in the industry.
W&C: What is your biggest concern looking forward?
Berlingeri: The economy. There’s going to be a slowdown (soft or hard, I don’t know) next year. It will impact business going forward with the inflation/interest rates. I don’t see any way to avoid this. I don’t foresee us going into another recession.
W&C: And how will this concern impact your business?
Berlingeri: There will be a general impact, but there are a lot of opportunities given Sto’s expansion on products/systems in comparison to our competition (EIFS industry-speaking).
W&C: Has historic highs on fuel impacted your business greatly?
Berlingeri: Negatively and positively – lower fuel cost in the past, but so much is tied to oil. I think we’re most impacted on the raw materials/packaging side vs. the production side. We’re low energy on the production side, so that helps us tremendously when increases happen.
W&C: The same on inflation?
Berlingeri: Inflation impacts the business when people start rethinking the materials used on the buildings.
W&C: Where do you see business headed in the next 3-12 months?
Berlingeri: I see the next three to six months steady unless something major happens with the economy. On a longer-term, say 16-18 months, around the second quarter, there will be a slowdown. 2023 will be a challenging year.
W&C: Do you feel we’re headed back into some type of correction/recession?
Berlingeri: Business is steady. I wouldn’t say corrected, and as I mentioned there will be a slow down next year, but not a recession.