CHICAGO PTC Alliance Corp. has decided to idle its steel
tube production facility in Hopkinsville, Ky., several
sources familiar with the situation told AMM.
PTC Alliance declined repeated requests for comment on the
reported closure, but sources said layoffs for the shutdown
began on Jan. 31.
The Wexford, Pa.-based company plans to finish existing
production orders at the mill by March 31, although that date
may push into April, the sources said, adding that customer
accounts are expected to be moved to other company plants.
The plant produces seamless tubing as well as
drawn-over-mandrel (DOM) tubing, a product that has been
struggling in recent quarters because of increased capacity at
a number of DOM domestic mills, including PTC (
amm.com, July 10
In 2011, for example, PTC announced it had reopened a DOM
facility idled since 2004 as part of its plan to expand its DOM
tubing capacity (
amm.com, Jan. 20, 2011
). At the time, it also said
its Hopkinsville plant had recently doubled manufacturing
output after returning to full production in late 2010
following a temporary closure in 2009.
But as PTC reportedly looks to reduce its exposure to the
domestic DOM market, some sources say it may simultaneously be
considering setting up a new oil country tubular goods (OCTG)
facility in the United States.
Executives at the company declined to comment on the market
speculation, but sources said PTC may have purchased equipment
from an idled pipe mill in Croatia, likely the former
Commercial Metal Co. (CMC) facility.
Irving, Texas-based CMC sold certain assets of its Croatian
pipe mill, formerly known as CMC Sisak d.o.o., to the
steelmaking division of Italys Danieli Group for $30.4
million in June 2012 (
amm.com, June 4
). CMC also sold some of
Sisaks assets not included in the deal with Danieli to an
undisclosed third party for $6.65 million (
amm.com, June 14
). A CMC spokeswoman declined to
comment further on the deal or disclose the name of other
buyers when contacted this week by AMM.
A source at Danieli confirmed that Danieli kept the steelmaking
and casting assets of the plant as well as a ladle furnace but
said CMC sold the pipe-making equipmentincluding both
pipe-rolling and cold-processing machineryto an
undisclosed German firm. Its from this third-party
company that PTC is rumored to be buying the equipment for a
possible U.S. OCTG mill.
Sources in the United States and Europe said the former CMC
equipment will be dismantleda process which could take
several monthsand shipped to North America where it could
be used to make OCTG.
Where the equipment might be located once it hits the United
States is said to be undecided, with possibilities including
Hopkinsville as well as a possible site in Alabama.
An executive at an major OCTG producer with facilities in the
United States has been hired to head PTC Alliances OCTG
division, one source said, although the company declined to
comment. Much like in the DOM market, OCTG capacity is also
ramping up domestically, with data compiled by AMM
late 2012 indicating that more than 3.5 million tons of
potential OCTG capacity have been or will be added to the U.S.
amm.com, Dec. 31
Meanwhile, a number of personnel changes have also taken place
at PTC. Mike Chunko, formerly general sales manager of tubing
for PTC Alliance, was said to have left the company in or
around November 2012, according to several sources.
A spokesman for PTC confirmed that he isnt with the
company any longer but declined to comment further.
Hopkinsville plant manager Rob Fornarinno also reportedly left
the company in late July, for the Blytheville, Ark., operations
of TMK Ipsco, where he is plant manager, according to the TMK
London, contributed to this story.