Is Business Surging? At this writing in late January some mostly anecdotal information seems to support a notion that PVF industry fortunes may be on a rather steep upswing – or at least looked that way as 2010 drew to a close. Partly this mood stems from conversations I had with Industrial Valco’s Rob Raban and Steve Livingston of Kelly Pipe in putting together this month’s cover story (“Master Distributors Talk Business,” page 18). Both took note of an upsurge in business as 2010 was drawing to a close. Raban in particular was pleasantly surprised when looking at his company’s financials to find that November was the best month of the year, whereas historically November tends to be one of IV’s slowest months. He also noted that December was starting out strong. (We spoke in mid- December.) Then in mid-January ASA came out with the news that PHCP distributors’ sales last December not only were up 6.7% from December 2009, but Dec. 2010 sales were up 1.9% against 2008 – the first time ASA member monthly sales topped 2008 totals. ASA said both the plumbing and PVF markets were poised to grow about 4% through 2012. Hard to say what’s behind this mini-surge or whether it might just be a temporary quirk.Let’s hope the invisible hand of the marketplace is getting a two-fisted workout. Ferguson Gets Back In Acquisition Mode Ferguson announced the acquisition of Summit Pipe and Supply Co. Inc. and Summit Pipe and Supply Co. Of Mississippi Inc. in an asset transaction completed Dec. 31, 2010. Summit is a waterworks distributor with three locations in Northport and Wetumpka, AL, and Jackson, MS. Summit was founded in 2001 by brothers Doug and Mark Pugh. Doug will continue as the Tuscaloosa branch manager and Mark will serve as the area’s sales manager. All former Summit locations will operate as satellite locations of the Ferguson Santa Rosa, FL, branch under the leadership of Ferguson General Manager George Wainwright. Nick Patterson also will remain as a branch manager in Jackson, MS. BITS AND PIECES PVF INDUSTRY NEWS... ITT Corp. announced a plan to separate the company’s businesses into three distinct, publicly traded companies.One of the businesses will include advanced technology industrial pumps, valves and control systems serving the oil and gas, mining, chemical, power generation, and pulp and paper markets. Revenues for this unit are estimated at $2.1 billion. Another business will be a stand-alone water technology corporation with a new corporate brand name to be formed through the combination of three of ITT’s current businesses: Residential & Commercial Water, Flow Control and Water & Wastewater (including biological, filtration and disinfection treatment and analytics). Revenues are estimated at $3.6 billion. The third unit will be the existing Defense & Information Solutions segment, to be renamed and rebranded as a new stand-alone company. Mueller Water Products acquired Echologics Holdings, the parent company of Echologics Engineering Inc., for $8 million in cash in mid-December. The company, which was founded in 2003, will continue to operate under the Echologics name as a division of Mueller Co. Based in Toronto, Echologics is a leader in the development of water infrastructure diagnostic technologies for water loss management, leak detection and pipe condition assessment. The Charles Machine Works, parent company of Ditch Witch and other underground construction companies, has acquired 100% ownership of Radius Professional HDD Tools in Weatherford, TX. Finalized January 13, 2011, the sale makes Radius HDD Tools a wholly owned subsidiary of CMW, which includes the Radius brand name, its patents, and products. Radius is a global company that manufactures and markets downhole tool products for the horizontal directional drilling (HDD) industry. Valvelinked Inc. is launching its new valve search service, which will connect valve buyers to sellers, enabling sales to occur in a fraction of what is considered the industry standard. The online site, valvelinked.com, is designed to allow sellers to post products they want to sell at any price they choose to sell the product for. PEOPLE ON THE MOVE.. The Phoenix Forge Group promoted Mark McIntosh to vice president. He joined the company in 2002 and most recently served as director of sales & marketing for all business units. Northwest Pipe Co. Appointed Les Boswell as vice president, sales & marketing for the Tubular Products Group. He most recently served as executive vice president of Texas-based distributor Sabine Pipe. The company also promoted Bill Gulasey to vice president of operations for the Tubular Products Group. He previously served as the Tubular Products Group director of engineering.
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