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Rail News: Railroading Supplier Spotlight

Rail supplier news from Koppers, Protran, Conrad Machine, RSI, HiRail and Schneider (April 13)


Koppers Inc. has signed an agreement to acquire Cox Industrial for $200 million in cash. Cox Industrial manufactures and distributes power distribution and transmission poles, pilings and related products to investor-owned utilities, electric cooperatives and municipalities. The acquisition advances Koppers' strategy to become a "vertically integrated, high-value global supplier of wood-based technologies to infrastructure markets," company officials said in a press release. Koppers had exited the utility pole market in January 2015. However, the opportunity to re-enter the market with a "growth-focused management team" and the scale to compete was "attractive and compelling," said Koppers President and Chief Executive Officer Leroy Ball.

CSX has ordered Protran Technology's collision avoidance system (CAS) for installation on several hundred of its railway track machines. The system uses a radio solution to provide consistent distance measurements and alerts to other vehicles in the area. The CAS is expandable to provide protection to workers, as well as warnings for end of work zones. All safety interactions are recorded for review, Protran officials said in a press release. Financial details of CSX's order were not disclosed.

Conrad Machine Inc. has been sold to Conkright Enterprises. RR Mergers & Acquisitions advised Conrad Machine on the sale. Conrad Machine specializes in manufacturing rail equipment components and provides fabrication services to several other industries, including oil and gas. In addition, Conrad's StarTrack division leases tampers and ballast regulators to Class Is, regionals and railroad contractors. The company's customers include Amtrak, BNSF Railway Co., Union Pacific Railroad, Kansas City Southern, Loram Maintenance of Way and Railworks Corp. Financial details of the sale were not disclosed.

The Railway Supply Institute (RSI) is seeking rail suppliers' input on the potential effects of the Trump administration's proposed Chinese tariffs. RSI asked suppliers to respond to an online survey after the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative published a notice in the Federal Register outlining the administration's proposed tariffs. The notice includes about 1,300 product codes that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff covering a range of technology and products, including finished rail parts from China.

HiRail Corp. has hired Jim Overfelt as director of sales and marketing. He'll succeed Walt Barry, who is retiring in August. Overfelt previously served as manager of sales and marketing for LT Resources Inc., according to his LinkedIn profile.

Schneider National Inc. has named Stephen Bruffett executive vice president and chief financial officer. He replaces Lori Lutey, who announced her retirement earlier this year. Before joining Schneider, Bruffett served as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Con-way Inc. He also held senior leadership positions at YRC Worldwide Inc.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 4/13/2018