Chase Corporation announced that it has acquired Stewart Superabsorbents (SSA), LLC, an advanced superabsorbent polymer (SAP) formulator and solutions provider, with operations located in Hickory and McLeansville, North Carolina.
A press release said that for its most recently completed calendar year, SSA and its recently acquired Zappa-Tec business (collectively “Zappa Stewart”) had combined revenue in excess of $24 million. Zappa Stewart’s products include materials for diverse markets that include wire and cable, for which it provides direct application of swellable powder, liquid, or hot melt adhesives for substrates such as non-wovens, yarns, strength members and shielding tapes.
The business, the release said, was acquired for $71,382,000, net of cash acquired, pending any working capital adjustments and excluding acquisition-related costs. As part of the deal, Chase acquired the business equity and entered into multiyear leases at both locations.
“This is a highly complementary acquisition for Chase Corporation which leverages our existing channels to industrial markets and allows us to deliver more value to our customers,” said Chase President and CEO Adam P. Chase. “Zappa Stewart’s proven protective materials technology is a great fit with our core strategy and extends our reach into growing medical and consumer applications. Their North Carolina operations will broaden our capabilities, and will add two facilities near the three we already have in the region. The new technologies and additional management talent will enhance our cross-functional operating model, creating logical synergies and value-creation opportunities.”
Chase Corporation will continue to manufacture and market under the Zappa Stewart brands and locations, with plans to integrate Zappa Stewart into its ERP platform in the coming months to further enhance existing operational, development and engineering expertise.
Brazil’s Gerdau S.A. has agreed to sell Optimus Steel LLC its wire rod mill in Texas, and two downstream facilities, for $92.50 million.
A press release said that the deal will include Gerdau’s wire rod mill in Beaumont. The mill has a melt shop capacity of approximately 700,000 tons, and is capable of producing both wire rod and coiled rebar. The sale also includes two downstream facilities: Beaumont Wire Products and Carrollton Wire Products. Beaumont Wire Products. The former was described as a wire mesh mill and the latter as a supplier of industrial wire into the greater U.S. southern region.
The news follow a previous announcement by Gerdau of the sale of four rebar mills and nearly three dozen downstream facilities to Commercial Metals Company for US$600 million. Once the two separate deals close, Gerdau, which was part of a recent trade case seeking to limit the in-flow of low-cost imported wire rod, will be out of that sector.
Gerdau Chief Executive Gustavo Werneck said that the company will “focus on more value-added products.” It will continue to have a considerable presence in North America, with 18 facilities, 15 in the U.S. and three in Canada that produce merchant steel, structural steel and some rebar.
Nexans announced that it has acquired a controlling interest in BE CableCon, a Danish company that supplies cable kits to wind turbine companies.
A press release said that the investment is part of Nexans’ strategy to reinforce the company’s portfolio of activities beyond cable manufacturing and accelerate growth in the renewable energy sector. BE CableCon designs, engineers and manufactures kits that enable wind turbine companies to simplify the installation of the power, control and communication cable systems in towers and nacelles. It offers low and medium voltage applications including connectors, pre-connected and pre-assembled cable kits and customized packing for complete ready-to-install kits.
“We have developed an excellent working relationship with BE CableCon as a subcontractor for our own kitting projects,” said Alain Robic, Nexans vice president industry solutions and projects. “Bringing them into the Nexans Group is a key step in our strategy to take greater control of critical elements within the value chain so that we can offer customers a complete engineered connection system.”
BE CableCon chief executive Klaus Moller will head the Nexans cable kit subsidiary company
A press release said that some inventory highlights include: three Davis Standard CCV lines; four Davis Standard extrusion lines, three Bartell BX-armoring lines, two planetary cablers, two rigid stranders, a Haefely Trench 1000 KVA Hi Voltage tester and a 13-die Bekaert rod breakdown line. An assortment of test equipment, payoffs, take-ups, curing ovens, rewind lines and reels is also available.
A press release said that the sale of the plant is in line with ABB’s Next Level strategy to continuously optimize its business portfolio. The 240,000-sq-ft plant produces high-voltage and extra-high-voltage underground transmission cables, ranging from 230kV to 400kV. ABB noted that it will continue to produce high-voltage land and subsea cables from its manufacturing facility in Karlskrona, Sweden. ABB and Southwire will also pursue a business partnership to leverage the facility for the land cable portion of certain HVDC projects.
“We remain fully committed to the North American market and to the high-voltage cables business. The decision to divest this factory is in line with our Next Level strategy and focus on optimizing our operations, exploring new business models and building partnerships,” said Claudio Facchin, president of ABB’s Power Systems division. “We are pleased that the Huntersville facility will be in the hands of Southwire, a well-established, innovation-focused company and look forward to building on our new business relationship.”
Per a past ABB release, the company opened the $90 million plant, designed to have some 130 employees, in 2012. The high-voltage cable production was to target markets that include wind and solar installations. “The plant has a distinctive 131 meter extrusion tower, built to allow the insulation material to cool symmetrically around the metal cable conductor. It is ABB’s first high-voltage cable plant outside Europe, and will manufacture high-voltage transmission cables for both AC and DC applications.”
The acquisition, which is expected to close in the third quarter, results in Southwire adding extra high-voltage cable products to its portfolio and expands its capacity to produce high-voltage cable, a market in which the company notes it is already a leading manufacturer.“We are committed to growing in the global wire and cable market. Today, we take another step toward that goal as we further expand our manufacturing capacity and expand our lineup of products that are made in America for new and existing customers, both here and around the world,” Southwire President and CEO Stu Thorn said. “In addition, today’s agreement paves the way for us to develop a strategic relationship with a global company like ABB, a recognized leader in power and automation technologies.”
Located on a 20-acre site in Commerce Station Business Park, the Huntersville plant fits nicely with Southwire’s family of manufacturing facilities and customer service centers in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Honduras and China, the Southwire release said. “Southwire is a U.S.-based manufacturer expanding on U.S. soil,” Thorn said. “We are building a business that will be sustainable into future generations by continually evolving to meet the changing needs of our industry.”
A press release said that Liberty House—which is part of the GFG Alliance, a global metals, industrials and energy group owned by the British Gupta family—plans to re-hire 125 former employees and gradually increase the workforce to 250. The group is targeting a major share of the U.S. market for home-produced wire rod, demand for which is projected to grow substantially during 2018.
Of note, the release said that the purchase was "the first in a series of strategic North American acquisitions and new projects targeted by the group founded and run by British industrialist, Sanjeev Gupta." The company is already in discussions regarding the acquisition of other major U.S. steel assets and new greenfield projects, which it expects to announce this year.
Georgetown Steel, based in Georgetown, South Carolina. has a storied history. Founded in 1969 by German industrialist Willy Korf, it one time had as many as 1,500 employees. It had multiple owners, including the government of Kuwait in 1984 and the International Steel Group in 2004. It was bought in 2005 by Lakshmi Mittal. The mill closed in 2009, and following the Mittal merger with Arcelor, it was reopened by Arcelor Mittal in 2011, only to be closed in May 2015.
The 600,000-sq-ft plant, which has wire rod capacity of 680,000 metric tons, will resume serving the construction and automotive markets. The release said that the plan is to re-start melting and rolling this spring "as the first step in GFG’s ambitious investment plans for the American steel industry."
"Securing the Georgetown furnace and mill is a major milestone for us, marking our first major step in the USA," said Sanjeev Gupta, executive chairman of the GFG Alliance. "The melting and rolling facilities here give us a formidable entry to the American market and provide a strong platform for expansion. We see major prospects for the metals industry here." He added that the company plans to employ its GREENSTEEL sustainable strategy that it already uses in the U.K. and Australia.
Gupta said that customers have been in contact, and that "we’re keen to get back up and running as quickly as possible." He added that support from the town council, the state government and the union was important in making the deal work. "We look forward to rebuilding the business and bringing quality industrial employment back to the site and to the local and regional supply chain."
John Brett, president and CEO of ArcelorMittal USA, said that the goal throughout the process has been to maintain the Georgetown steelmaking operation. "While bittersweet for ArcelorMittal, we are hopeful that today’s announcement is a celebration for Liberty Steel and GFG Alliance, the United Steelworkers and the Georgetown community. We appreciate the patience of all of our stakeholders while we finalized this important transaction."
In a report in the SouthStrandNews, Gupta compared the Georgetown mill to Liberty House’s first steel plant in Newport, South Wales. "The first mill in the U.K. will always be important to us. ... That is where our British journey started," he said. "It was a shutdown plant as well," he added. "And we restarted it, and it’s a great success now. And that led to everything else we’ve done in the U.K. So Georgetown is the foundation of what we will do in the U.S."
At its website, Liberty Steel notes that has seven specialist businesses manufacturing steel products such as ingots, billets, blooms, slabs, bars and narrow strip, as well as hot rolled coil, pipes and tubes, structural hollow sections, plates, de-bar, wire, rod and more.