Esmark Forms Industrial Group, Buys Machine Shop

December 30, 2009, American Metal Market, By Corinna Petry

Esmark Industrial Group, a newly formed subsidiary of Esmark Inc., has acquired the assets of Excalibur Machine Co. Inc. for $3.5 million.

Meadville, Pa.-based Excalibur is a precision machining and fabrication firm that supplies parts, subassemblies and material handling equipment to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) in the transportation, material handling, heavy construction and power generation industries.

The acquisition will save about 50 jobs, including senior management, and provide working capital financing to grow the business and increase employment opportunities in the Meadville area, said James P. Bouchard, chairman of Chicago-based Esmark Inc.

Esmark’s purchase prevents Excalibur “from being liquidated in bankruptcy court and protects the livelihoods of hard-working Pennsylvania residents,” he said, and lays the groundwork for a profitable future for the machining operation.

David A. Luptak, who serves as co-chief executive officer of Esmark Inc., has been appointed president and chief executive officer of Esmark Industrial Group. Eric Hoover, founder of Excalibur, will remain as its president.

Excalibur’s equipment and facilities, combined with OEM customers such as GE Locomotive, JLG Industries, Riley Power and Siemens Power Generation, “will provide Esmark with an expanded customer base to complement its growing steel group operations,” Hoover said in a statement.

Besides Meadville, Excalibur operates manufacturing and machine shop facilities in Conneaut Lake and Linesville, Pa.

Esmark Inc. recently purchased Amtex Steel Inc. (now Chicago Steel & Iron), University Park, Ill., a processor and distributor of flat-rolled and bar products, for $10 million (AMM, Nov. 17). Amtex has since been renamed Chicago Steel & Iron.

Esmark remains on the acquisition trail, especially for cold-rolled and coated flat-roll distribution businesses, and has indicated it is interested in acquiring the service center assets of OAO Severstal, Russia, which purchased a group of distributor companies and Wheeling-Pittsburgh Steel Corp. from Esmark in 2008 for $1.23 billion.

An Esmark spokesman said the company would look to create business synergies between the service center group and the industrial group, including Excalibur.