U.K.-based Volex, a manufacturer of standard and custom cable assemblies, reports that it has agreed to buy cable harnesses maker Silcotec for just shy of £16 million.
Per multiple media reports, the cash and stock deal will enable Volex to continue its mission to further consolidate what was described as the “highly fragmented cable assembly industry.” A few weeks earlier, Volex bought U.S.-based MC Electronics, a peer, in an all-share deal worth up to £2.6 million.
Based in Ireland, Silotec offers cables, assembles and box builds for the medical industry. Per the company’s website, it has a Centre of Manufacturing Excellence in Komarno, Slovakia. “Silcotec Europe can accommodate almost every sub contract manufacturing need. With 65,000 sq ft in Slovakia and the skilled teams within it we consistently adopt, adapt and improve our manufacturing systems to meet individual client needs.”
“This acquisition is an important step in expanding our Cable Assembly activities in Europe,” Volex Chairman Nat Rothschild said.
Liberty Steel USA said that preparations continue for the restart of Georgetown wire mill, South Carolina, with a new general manager and more than 100 recruits.
The company said that the new general manager, Revansidha “Rohit” Gulve, has joined the operation from Gerdau Steel in Beaumont, Texas. Staff is getting the previously shuttered melt shop, casters and rolling facilities ready for recommissioning.
“I’m really excited about this project because it is one of those great challenges,” Gulve said. “Anytime you restart a mill like that after three years down, it is a memory for life. My objective is to make the plant profitable in both good markets and bad and to have the best people working in the safest environment. I am very eager to understand and improve the cost structure, so it becomes a sustainable business for the long term.”
Michael Setterdahl, chief executive of Liberty Steel USA, part of Sanjeev Gupta’s GFG Alliance, said that “Rohit is a great addition to our management team. “We look forward to working with him as we build our business in Georgetown and across America.”
Liberty acquired the Georgetown plant from ArcelorMittal in December 2017 as the first part of its plan to bring its GREENSTEEL vision for low-carbon steel production to the U.S.
The U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) has found that carbon and alloy steel wire rod imports from five countries were hurting U.S. producers, upholding a U.S. Commerce Department finding made in March.
The U.S. Department of Commerce had determined that exporters from Italy, Korea, Spain, Turkey, and the U.K. had dumped carbon and alloy steel wire rod in the U.S. at 12.41-18.89%, 41.10%, 11.08-32.64%, 4.74-7.94%, and 147.63% less than fair value, respectively. The April issue of WJI listed rates for individual companies.
The petitioners in the case were Gerdau Ameristeel US, Inc., Nucor Corporation, Keystone Consolidated Industries and Charter Steel. With the affirmative finding by the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC), the Commerce Department will issue AD and CVD orders.
Bekaert reports that it has reached an agreement in principle with the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to buy out its 33% equity share in the Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group (BBRG).
A press release said that the ropes and advanced cords business, which became the BBRG at the end of June 2016, will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Bekaert. “Taking full ownership ... fits within the ambitions and strategy of Bekaert to grow a global ropes and advanced cords business that will create significant value over time for customers worldwide and for the Bekaert Group.”
Bekaert CEO Matthew Taylor said in the release that it made sense for the company to follow this direction as BBRG was established in a period that saw weak markets and integration challenges. "Taking full control ... will allow us to accelerate the turnaround efforts, drive greater synergies between BBRG and the Bekaert Group and take advantage of the complementary nature of the businesses.” He noted that the deal reflects Bekaert’s commitment to and belief in BBRG, and will enable it to focus on helping the business achieve its true potential."
“I will personally take up the role of CEO of BBRG, alongside my existing role as CEO of Bekaert,” Taylor said. He praised the efforts of Bruno Humblet, who he noted had been the driving force behind creating and integrating the Bridon-Bekaert Ropes Group, as well as the Ontario Teachers’ "for the collaborative approach, active cooperation and drive they brought to the joint venture over the last two years."
The agreement, subject to customary closing conditions including regulatory approvals, is expected to be completed in the coming months, the release said.
Nigeria’s Globacom has signed a contract with Huawei to build a second fiber optic submarine cable that will run from Lagos to the southern part of Nigeria.
Per an article in This Day, the new cable, to be known as Glo2, is expected to be completed in the next 18 months. It will have 12 Terabit capacity per second and span 850 km, providing last-mile connectivity to businesses and oil companies in southern Nigeria and beyond.
Nigeria has several submarine cables berthed on its shores, but none has the capacity to provide broadband connectivity to the hinterlands, where there is high demand, the report said. “The situation has compelled telecoms subscribers to call for last-mile connectivity that could cushion the effect of the high cost of broadband bandwidth in the hinterlands, as well as the price differential in bandwidth between Lagos and the hinterlands. The Glo 2 optic fiber submarine cable is expected to address those challenges.”
The plan for the Glo 2 project was launched at a contract signing ceremony by Globacom and Huawei. Globacom’s regional director for technical affairs, Sanjib Roy, said the submarine cable would be built along the Nigerian coast from Alpha Beach in Lagos, where the Glo 1 landing station is located, to the Southern part of Nigeria. He said that the cable would contain three fiber pairs, with the first pair connecting Lagos directly to the southern part of Nigeria, with terrestrial extension to other parts of the country for redundancy and maintenance purposes. The second will be equipped with eight switchable Branching Units (BUs), which will deliver high capacity to offshore oil stations and communities connected directly to BUs, while the third pair will be equipped with two switchable branching units to deliver high capacity to Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
The facility will enable a high capacity connection in the south and provide capacity to offshore oil platforms and the communities. Roy said that the Glo 2 project would boost telecom service delivery in the country by providing economic and social capacity to communities in oil producing regions. It will also digitize oil platforms to improve productivity, upload data to remote oil platforms at the speed of light.
Glo2 complements the Glo 1 international submarine cable built by Globacom in 2010, which is the only international submarine cable in Nigeria managed end to end, from Lagos to London, by one company. It currently provides sufficient bandwidth for the West Africa sub-region.
The board of India’s Sundram Fasteners Limited has promoted Arathi Krishna, the daughter of Sundram Fasteners Chairman Suresh Krishna, as the new managing director, effective April 20.
Per multiple media accounts, Arathi, age 49, earned her way to the top, working for two-and-a-half decades for the company. One of three daughters, she is the only one who joined the family’s fastener business.
A gold medalist in economics, Arathi holds an MBA from the University of Michigan Business School. After on-the-job training in automotive-related business in the U.S., she started her career in 1990, at age 20, as a management trainee at Sundram Fasteners. She became the company’s manager for business strategy and systems in 1993, and general manager in 1998. “I had an easy transition into the company and was easily accepted by employees,” she said in an interview.
An article by K.T. Jagannathan in The Hindu praised Arathi for her management style. She used to go to the shop floor, interact with employees and try to understand technologies, in a company that had a record of never losing a day’s work because of labor issues, according to observers of the company. “Known to be media-shy, soft-spoken but result-oriented and tough when it comes to work, Arathi has acquired wide managerial and business administration skills through her experience in India and abroad. It was under her leadership that the company forayed in sectors like aviation and wind energy.”
Krishna was first appointed to the company’s board in 2006 as managing director (designated as executive director), and later in 2011 re-appointed as managing director (designated as joint managing director), the story said. The company’s consistent growth during the past decade has come with her, along with other family members, at the helm of affairs. She has her expertise in corporate strategy and general management, and under her leadership several new product lines have been set up and stabilized at the company, leading to a robust growth and operating performance.
Arathi was also instrumental in making the workforce at Sundram Fasteners younger, and the work culture more performance-based and technology-oriented. The average employee age at the company is 35 years.
All of the country of Mauritania was left without internet access for two days, and nine other African nations were affected when the African Coast to Europe (ACE) submarine cable was severed on March 30.
Per media reports, the cable broke near the Mauritanian capital of Noukachott. A trawler is believed to have severed the line. Mauritania, which has a population of 4.5 million people, relies entirely on ACE for internet access. The ACE system, 10,500 miles long, stretches from France to South Africa, providing an internet connection to 22 countries, most of Africa’s west coast. A large part of the west of the continent was affected by outages.
A spokesman for Orange, which heads the consortium that manages ACE, tweeted a picture of the severed cable taken by workers on a maintenance vessel sent to repair it. Jean-Luc Vuillemin said a trawler raising the cable
off the seabed and slicing through it was the “likely cause.”
Consus Muju Pinestone PF Real Estate, a subsidiary of South Korea’s major wire supplier, Taihan Electric Wire Co., has sold Pinestone Country Club for 78 billion won ($73.4 million).
Per media accounts, Taihan Electric Wire reported that its real estate investment fund agreed to sell the 680,000-sq-m site in Dangjin, South Chungcheong Province Tongyang Leisure and Line Industry. The site includes a golf course and adjacent buildings.
Built in 2006, Pinestone Resort is wholly owned by Consus Muju Pinestone PF Real Estate, in which Taihan Electric Wire has a 71% stake. Taihan said it plans to shed more of its noncore assets so it can focus on its mainstay electric wire business to boost profitability.
Primetals Technologies reports that South Korean Hyundai Steel has issued final acceptance certificates for two long-rolling mills—a large bar mill and a small bar and wire rod mill—it supplied for its plant in Dangjin.
A press release said that the large bar mill is designed for annual capacity of about one million metric tons. It includes a duo-reversing breakdown stand and a finishing train with rolling/sizing stands. It will also provide billets to be further processed in the other new smaller mill.
Per the release, the small bar and wire rod mill has annual capacity of 800,000 metric tons. Designed to roll 160 tons per hour, the small bar and wire rod line will have the highest production rate for a combination mill. It employs low-temperature rolling technology designed to improve the metallurgical structure and mechanical properties of end products and to enhance flexibility during the rolling operation. Special mechatronics packages and an integrated automation solution ensure the necessary high product quality throughout the plant.
Hyundai Steel is part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, which has six production facilities in South Korea and one in China. Its order with Primetals Technologies included a continuous bloom casting machine designed to produce 1.1 million metric tons of blooms per year. That operation received final acceptance in 2017.
Prysmian announced that it has won a contract from JG Summit Petrochemicals Group in the Philippines that calls for it to supply 820 km of cable for use in an expansion of the company’s operations.
A press release said that Prysmian will supply a mix of low- and medium-voltage power cable, instrumentation and control cable and telecom cable for plant and petrochemical applications. They will be used for the customer’s OSBL (Outside Battery Limits) Phase 1 Expansion Project, planned as the first expansion phase to the existing JG Summit facilities that will see construction begin this year. The cable will be produced at Prysmian plants in China, with delivery later this year.
JGSPG consists of JG Summit Petrochemical Corporation (JGSPC)—the largest manufacturer of polyolefins in the Philippines and the first and only integrated PE and PP resin manufacturer in the country—and JG Summit Olefins Corporation (JGSOC), which operates the only naphtha cracker plant in the Philippines. The JGSPG complex is 120 km south of Metro Manila in Batangas City, where its 250-hectare complex houses the naphtha cracker plant and the polymer plants.
The release noted that the Prysmian Group was the only cable maker in the region that could supply all the necessary cable. Irene C. Wilson, Oil & Gas Asia Pacific Business Director at Prysmian Group, said that JG Summit is a new client that has huge projected growth in the petrochemical and LNG front future."
Southwire announced that the company will reinvest approximately $9 million dollars back into the lives, and pockets, of its employees, joining a growing list of companies that have made similar moves as a result of recent tax reform.
A press release said that in addition to global, one-time employee bonuses, the company is expanding its parental leave policy and taking steps to strengthen its commitment to education, skilled trade development, Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) programs and diversity in the workplace.
Full-time U.S. employees, with the exception of executives and upper management, will each receive a $1,000 bonus, while full-time employees outside the U.S. will get a bonus of $250 or the international equivalent. These investments will impact the majority of Southwire’s nearly 7,500 employees.
“Building organizational capability is one of the key components of our company’s strategy, and it is vital that we make the right decisions as we continually enhance Southwire’s great culture,” said Southwire President and CEO Rich Stinson. “We’re off to a good start in 2018, and I am pleased to be able to share this benefit, both monetarily and through the extension of new and existing programs and partnerships, with the Southwire family.”
The release said that Southwire will also expand its parental leave policy to assist eligible parents. “At Southwire, our desire is for all employees to focus on ‘The Whole You,’ a concept which goes beyond standard benefits and provides access to resources that touch many aspects of an employee’s life,” said Kathleen Edge, EVP of Human Resources. “In doing so, we must offer programs and total rewards like these that reflect this commitment.”
Southwire will also offer a bridge scholarship program for eligible hourly employees seeking to further their education through a two-year degree, four-year degree or technical certification. There also are plans are in the works “to make strong investments into new and existing industry partnership” The purpose of these investments is to accelerate the attraction of diverse candidates into Southwire’s manufacturing and STEM careers. More information on these new programs will be available soon.
“As we continue to grow, we’re also looking at significant modernization and safety improvement efforts into our manufacturing and distribution facilities,” said Stinson. “Our goal is to be a generationally sustainable business for the next century and beyond, and to get there, we must make considerations and investments like these. It is an exciting time to be part of Southwire!”
A consortium that includes RTI Connectivity Pte. Ltd. (RTI-C), AARNet Pty Ltd (AARNet) and Google, together with Alcatel Submarine Networks (ASN), part of Nokia, and NEC Corporation (NEC) announced that construction of the 9,500-km-long Japan-Guam-Australia Cable System (JGA) has officially begun.
A press release said that the undersea fiber optic cable system, designed for capacity of more than 36 terabits per second (Tbps), is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019.
JGA is being co-built by ASN and NEC. JGA South (JGA-S), the segment between Sydney, Australia and Piti, Guam, is a consortium cable including AARNet, Google and RTI-C. JGA North (JGA-N), the segment between the Minami-Boso, Japan and Piti, Guam, is a private cable with RTI-C as the sole purchaser. Both JGA-N and JGA-S will interconnect in Guam at GTA’s newly built landing station.
“We are honored to be selected once again by RTI-C to construct their third subsea cable,” said Toru Kawauchi, general manager of NEC’s Submarine Network Division said. “While both SEA-US and HK-G will provide horizontal East-West connectivity across the Pacific, JGA will now provide the much-needed vertical North-South connectivity, enabling high capacity communications to reach all corners. Further, JGA will be the second project after HK-G to be co-financed by the Japanese government-led Japan ICT Fund, and the third project supporting RTI’s investment after SEA-US and HK-G for the Japanese loan syndicate. We wish to further utilize these funds for many more cables in the future.”
JGA will further enhance and contribute to the much-needed expansion of communications networks from Japan and Australia, to Asia and the U.S., the release said. That, it noted, will improve network redundancy, ensuring highly reliable communications and expanding onward connectivity options in Guam.
Germany’s Gustav Wolf GmbH announced that it has officially opened a factory in Rome, Georgia, that represents the first expansion of the business into the U.S.
A press release said that the 61,354-sq-ft plant, which was acquired from Swiss-based Brugg, has annual capacity of 3,000 tons of steel wire elevator rope, and that there are plans to expand that capacity. “We’re now manufacturing in the USA as well,” said Managing Director Dr. Ernst Wolf. “This represents an important step in the more than 130-year history of our company. It’s in keeping with our tradition to occupy the strongest markets on every continent.”
In the release, Wolf explained that with the addition, the company now has six rope plants on three continents. “Our aim is and has always been to be able to deliver our premium products to our customers within 24 hours. Establishing a base in the USA means that we can now accomplish this for all our customers throughout the world.” Asia, Europe and the U.S. represent a major market for specially constructed ropes, he said, adding that the idea of launching a U.S. plant stems back three years.
“For us, the start of production in Rome is an absolutely decisive component in the further international expansion of the Gustav Wolf Group,” Wolf said. “We want to and will grow with the markets. As a service provider, we help our customers in their dynamic development, thus securing local jobs as well.”
Reinhard Bänisch, the company’s division manager for steel wire ropes, said that there are high expectations. “From May onwards, we’ll be additionally installing some new machines. And that’s just the beginning. We plan to have 30 staff at the site and want to achieve a turnover of $12.3 million dollars.”
“Our ropes, produced for the major and leading elevator manufacturers, fulfill the highest standards,” said Richard Lindemeyer, who manages the U.S. site. He said that the elevator wire production would be exclusively for the American market.
The release said that company’s focus is not limited to wire rope. It cited Konrad Stahr, the company’s central quality officer, as noting that Gustav Wolf has other wire products. “We’re also one of the premium manufacturers in the ‘tire wire’ segment and a major supplier of the big tyie manufacturers such as Goodyear, Continental, Bridgestone and Pirelli,” said Konrad Stahr, the central quality officer at Gustav Wolf.
The Australian Anti-Dumping Commission (ADC) has ended an anti-dumping (AD) lawsuit on steel wire rods imported from Indonesia, South Korea and Vietnam.
A report at the ADC’s website said that there was dumping of the goods by Indonesia’s PT Ispat, but it was less than 2% and thus the case was dropped. It found that other exporters from Indonesia--and all exporters from Korea—represented a negligible amount, and were also dropped. Finally, it found that goods exported from Vietnam were not dumped, and thus it too was dropped, thus ending the matter.