Another key opportunity for Georgia Gulf lies in the U.S. housing market. New starts and renovation spending have been at an unsustainably low levels for several years. We appear to be in the early stages of a recovery that should generate increased demand and margins across all 3 of our segments on a domestic basis. As this local pickup in consumption develops, we expect to begin to benefit much earlier in the next housing recovery than any prior recovery. The opportunity for this change is strongly supported by operating rates that are already in the mid- to high-80s for vinyl due to the export levels currently in place.
Also, there have been many companies in the building products space that have either exited the business or have had to shut down due to the financial stress caused by the downturn. This clearly should present new opportunities for the remaining players.
So given the backdrop of these fundamental shifts in the microenvironment and are vastly improved balance sheet, we have a unique opportunity to take advantage of these changes. The combination of growing our asset foundation on the chemicals side by increasing our chlorine integration level and improving our Building Products profitability, due, improvements in fundamental market opportunities is really exciting.
As we have discussed a number of times in the past, the management group and all of their team members have taken and continue to take steps to improve Georgia Gulf's cost structure. We've been [indiscernible] on the cost side. While at the same time, on the revenue side, we are moving in the markets that provide a more diverse and sustainable long-term customer base. For all of these reasons, we believe that Georgia Gulf is poised to significantly outperform prior cycles and deliver significant value to shareholders.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com