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Liberty Steel consolidates U.S. wire market leadership with Johnstown acquisition
Sanjeev Gupta’s Liberty Steel, part of the global GFG Alliance, further expanded its footprint in the U.S. steel downstream products market today with the acquisition of Johnstown Wire Technologies (JWT) in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, the largest producer of value-added carbon and alloy wire in North America.
The acquisition from private investment firm, Aterian Investment Partners, was financed by group equity along with loans from PNC Business Credit and gives Liberty valuable capacity to manufacture a range of high-value carbon and alloy wire products for multiple end markets including the infrastructure, automotive, utility and consumer sectors.
The 250-worker advanced manufacturing facility at Johnstown will complement Liberty’s melting and rolling operations at Georgetown, South Carolina and Peoria, Illinois and, combined with its scrap processing plant in Tampa, Florida, will firmly embed the business along the full value chain in the U.S. steel market.
Today’s announcement marks another major step by Liberty towards its target of quickly becoming a market leader in the American wire rod sector.
The 638,000 square foot Johnstown site has been a high-profile steel manufacturing facility for over 100 years and is a top-3 US producer of the types of steel that will be needed to modernize America’s ageing infrastructure – CHQ, electro-galvanized, aluminized and spring wire. JWT currently holds the number one market position in the electro-galvanized and aluminized sectors.
Liberty Steel intends to drive growth at JWT as the U.S. updates its infrastructure and electricity networks, thereby increasing demand for steel products such as support cables and guard rails for bridges and for electrical power lines.
With more than half of JWT’s output sold into the transportation market, Liberty is also aiming to capitalize on continued growth in U.S. vehicle production. It is the third largest producer in the U.S. of CHQ wire, which is used in automotive products such as engine block bolts and brake pad rivets.
The acquisition will also add substantially to Liberty’s capability to meet the ‘Made in America’ specifications required for public infrastructure and utility contracts.
Grant Quasha, Chief Investment Officer for GFG in North America said: “This is another very significant step towards our ambitious U.S. goals. JWT is a profitable business with a skilled workforce and tremendous pedigree in the industry, so we look forward to welcoming it into the GFG USA family and helping it build an even stronger future.”
Jack Miller, President and CEO of Johnstown Wire Technologies said: “We are excited to be joining the GFG family of global businesses and see this as a tremendous opportunity to further our position as a leading manufacturer of steel wire in North America.”
Sanjeev Gupta, GFG Group executive chairman added: “It’s a great pleasure to welcome 250 highly-skilled new members to our family. Integration upstream and downstream with value-added product manufacturing is an absolute core to our U.S. steel strategy. The addition of high-quality specialized facilities at Johnstown further strengthens our existing facilities at Georgetown and Peoria.”
Liberty entered the U.S. market in 2017 by acquiring ArcelorMittal’s Georgetown mill and followed up with the purchase of Keystone Consolidated Industries, including its flagship Peoria mill, in 2018.
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