Esmark to Buy North Aurora-based Premier Resource Group

January 25, 2006, Crain’s Chicago Business, By Bob Tita

(Crain’s) — Steel distributor Esmark Inc. said Wednesday it’s acquiring Premier Resource Group LLC, a North Aurora-based distributor of painted steel.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Premier has annual sales of $30 million and specializes in painted metal for garage doors, office furniture, appliances and the construction industry. Premier arranges for steel to be coated by other companies and then distributes the final product, saving its customers from having to arrange for painting on their own.

As part of the purchase, Premier executives will remain in their jobs and become officers in Chicago-based Esmark. Premier was founded in 2001 by company President Michael Noble.

“I’m confident that our customers will benefit from this union and the substantial synergies and resources Esmark can bring to bear on the market,” Mr. Noble said in written statement announcing the sale.

For Esmark, Premier is the eighth steel distributor it has acquired since late 2004 when brothers James and Craig Bouchard launched the company to consolidate Midwestern steel distributors. In December, Esmark purchased Homewood-based North American Steel LLC. The Premier purchase is expected to push Esmark’s annual sales to about $700 million.