Maruichi Leavitt: Welcome to the industrial renaissance

Dec 31, 2012 | 07:00 PM | Gregory DL Morris

Tags  Maruichi Leavitt Pipe & Tube, Takabumi Konishi, steel pipe, Gregory DL Morris

In mid-November, headlines across the country trumpeted a forecast that would have seemed ridiculous just a few years ago: The United States could overtake Saudi Arabia as the world’s top oil producer by 2020.

That pronouncement from the International Energy Agency in Paris immediately stoked coast-to-coast discussions about U.S. “energy independence,” which analysts quickly corrected to “net energy self-sufficiency.” What seemed to be missing was any concrete idea of what that would mean for North American employment and economics.

That’s where Chicago-based Maruichi Leavitt Pipe & Tube LLC has seen opportunities open up. While the company says it always has been opportunity-driven, it also has been realistic as market cycles moved through both the steel sector upstream and the end-use markets downstream.

But the key development that let the company take advantage of the boom in pipe demandÑparticularly related to the news in the oil and gas sectorÑcame when Leavitt Tube Co. was acquired by Osaka, Japan-based Maruichi Steel Tube Ltd. in 2008.

Thanks to the acquisition, Leavitt was able to put into place an ambitious multi-million-dollar expansion plan to boost productivity and improve the quality of its finished goods. The new capabilities also will allow the company to pursue sales growth in fragmented markets while not becoming a direct competitor to the service centers and distributors that are currently its major sales channel.

“Our target is not to become the largest in terms of tonnage but to become the highest-quality tubing supplier,” said Takabumi Konishi, chairman and chief executive officer. ....

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