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Atkore sees nonresidential construction boost

Keywords: Tags  Atkore, John Williamson, first quarter 2013, Allied Tube, Thorsten Schier

NEW YORK — Atkore International Holdings Inc. said it sees its end markets improving in the second half of the year as nonresidential construction begins to pick up slightly.

"We’re experiencing a gradual improvement in the nonresidential construction market, with potentially a more meaningful increase in demand in the second half of 2013," president and chief executive officer John Williamson said during a conference call to discuss the Harvey, Ill.-based company’s fiscal first-quarter earnings.

However, market conditions in some operating segments still appear challenging in the near term, he said.

"I would say going into the (fiscal) second quarter, we saw a continuation of the competitive pricing environment in especially a couple of our pipe, tube and conduit segments. It really has not gotten better," Williamson said. "The root of that is just overcapacity in a couple of segments chasing lower volumes than people expected and geared up for."

Atkore, the parent company of Allied Tube & Conduit Corp., also said it does not see recently announced price increases for flat-rolled steel products sticking, despite a slight uptick in published prices.

"We don’t see that holding very much," Williamson said, blaming it on a comparatively weak start to the year.

The manufacturer of fabricated steel tubes and pipes, metal framing systems and other products recorded a net loss of $4 million during its fiscal first quarter ended Dec. 28, marking an improvement from a loss of $8 million logged in the same period a year ago, as 12-percent-higher shipment volumes in its pipe, tube and conduit business were offset by weaker pricing that fell 6 percent year over year.

Atkore recorded sales of $385 million during the period, 3.8 percent higher than the $371 million achieved during the same period a year ago, with sales in the pipe, tube and conduit segment increasing 5.5 percent to $249 million.

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