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Best Mergers and Acquisitions of the Year

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Columbus Recycling

In late January 2017, Columbus Recycling substantially broadened its southern footprint by acquiring Freedom Metals, Inc., one of the largest privately held industrial metals recyclers in Kentucky. Columbus Recycling, Columbus, Miss., purchased Freedom and its four Kentucky locations, and plans to keep the Freedom name and its employees. Freedom, which has been in business about 35 years, specializes in industrial accounts, particularly OEMs, and handles nearly 200,000 tons of material annually.

Thanks to the acquisition, Columbus will now operate at nine locations in three southern states. The combined firm’s facilities are strategically located close to all modes of transportation as well as sources for scrap.

The growth of the company has been predicated on proven, low-cost competencies for logistics, processing and services that create additional value for both customers and consumers. Customers range from large and small manufacturers and Tier I and Tier II suppliers to OEMs, steel mills and service centers throughout the southeastern United States.

“Columbus is fortunate to have grown considerably during what has been a difficult period for our industry – coming out stronger than ever in the face of what is still a recovering market for the global metals supply chain,” Gregg Rader, Columbus’ chief executive officer, commented in a statement announcing the acquisition.

“We are extremely excited to be establishing a stronger presence in Kentucky with Freedom,” Rob Craig, Columbus’ president, added. “We have big plans for this market, and Freedom is just the beginning. Our goal is to continue the implementation of our growth strategy, both through an active pursuit of organic expansion and value-added acquisition opportunities.”

Nucor

In response to the changing dynamics of the global steel market, Nucor has adopted an aggressive strategy geared, in part, to expand its portfolio of value-added products. In pursuit of that strategy, the Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker acquired three firms in the tubular sector of the industry–Independence Tube Corporation and Southland Tube, which produce hollow structural section (HSS) steel tubing, and Republic Conduit, a manufacturer of steel electrical conduit.

The three acquisitions–representing a combined total investment of $900 million–not only provide Nucor a platform for growth but are helping the company build a market leadership position in the pipe and tube market. The acquisitions also give Nucor another channel to consume and market sheet produced on its flat-rolled mills.

In 2006, eight percent of Nucor’s total steel mill shipments went to support its downstream businesses. The company expects that number to grow to about 20 percent with these acquisitions. The addition of these product lines allows Nucor to offer a wider selection of products to its fabricator and service center customers.

At the start of 2016, Nucor had zero pipe and tube production capacity. By yearend and through these three acquisitions, Nucor now counts almost one-million tons of pipe and tube production capacity and ranks second in market share for HSS steel tubing and among the market leaders for steel electrical conduit.


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