Oldcastle Precast acquires assets of Andrew Corporation’s Shelter Division
Oldcastle Precast, Auburn, Wash., has acquired the assets of Orland Park, Ill.-based Andrew Corporation’s Shelter Division, a producer of aboveground equipment shelters for telecommunications and utility customers. The Andrew Shelter Division operates from production facilities in Newman, Ga., and Burlington, Kan.
Andrew Corporation sold the shelter unit because “there were too many people chasing too little business. The market is smaller than all of us,” said John DeSana, president of Andrew’s RF Systems Group.
Oldcastle Precast bought the shelter unit because “we are also in that business. We manufacture the same products. It will be a nice fit,” said David Steevens, vice president of development at Oldcastle Precast.
DeSana said that Andrew Corporation sold the shelter unit as part of a general restructuring of its business because of excess capacity in the shelter manufacturing business serving wireless system and fiber network construction.
“Fiber builds have gone away. Other players, including Rohn, were experiencing the shelter business downturn. It was time for us to get out,” DeSana said.
And a good time for Oldcastle Precast to expand, apparently, as Steevens explained that most of the current Andrew employees would be retained. No “dramatic hiring” is planned for the short term, “but we hope to build the business,” he said.
“We hope that the market has bottomed, and we anticipate it to be flat for the near term, and eventually growing again,” Steevens said.
Steevens said that the shelter products range from 10-foot by 20-foot buildings to some that are many times larger, with regional Bell operating companies, long-distance companies, wireless companies and occasional cable companies numbering among the typical customers. He said that there was no significant difference in the products made by Andrew Corporation and Oldcastle Precast.
But the market segments served by the two companies had differed somewhat. David Shedd, president of Oldcastle Communications, explained that Andrew Corporation had been stronger in the wireless and fiber line segment, and Oldcastle Communications was more focused on the landline phone companies with a smaller share of the wireless segment.
Shedd said that another part of the fit involved the location of Andrew Corporation’s manufacturing plants.
“Oldcastle Communications already had facilities in Avon, Conn; and Chandler, Ariz. Adding Andrew Corporation’s plant in Burlington, Kan., gives us one in the Midwest. We have a facility in Stone Mountain, Ga., that produces shelters and other precast products. We will consolidate our shelter business in Stone Mountain into the former Andrew Corporation facility in Newman, Ga., giving us four dedicated shelter plants to cover the United States,” Shedd said.
Shedd said that Oldcastle Communications had continued to invest in face of the downturn in the market. He said that the company has been “right-sized and profitable” throughout the downturn, placing it in the minority.
“In the last year, we have set up a services division to do turnkey installations. We made the Andrew acquisition to get plant facilities. We have a large number of dedicated sales people to do the blocking and tackling to go after the opportunities. We’re making the assumption that future sales will not come in large contracts such as with Nextel, Verizon or fiber network companies. There are a lot smaller, scattered opportunities out there that require digging to find them,” Shedd said.
Shedd characterized Oldcastle Communications as having the broadest product line, including shelters, large-square-foot precast buildings, underground controlled environment vaults, and cabinets. Oldcastle also offers turnkey site services and radio integration, together with strong geographic coverage.
“That is what we think differentiates us,” Shedd said.
Oldcastle Precast has 70 production plants and distribution centers in 25 states and one Canadian province. It is one of five U.S. divisions of CRH, a building materials manufacturer with headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, and worldwide operations.
In the United States, Oldcastle has $5 billion in annual revenue and operates more than 900 facilities, employing 29,000 workers in 47 states. Worldwide, CRH had a 2001 pre-tax profit of $750 million on $10 billion in annual revenue. It operates 1,500 facilities, employing 47,600 workers.
Oldcastle Precast will integrate the former Andrew Shelter business with the operation of its Communications Division. The combined Oldcastle Precast Communications Division will offer a broad product line of buildings and shelters and related service capabilities to the communications and utility industry, including precast equipment shelters, below-ground, controlled-environment vaults and cabinets, ultra-lightweight rooftop shelters, large modular buildings, electronic equipment integration, and turnkey field installation services.