PITTSBURGH A reported four of the five traders in the pipe and tube department of trading house Coutinho & Ferrostaal Inc. have left the company, according to a number of well-placed sources familiar with the departures.
The companys president and chief executive officer, Hernan Guajardo, declined to confirm or comment on the reported moves. According to a number of sources, however, four members of the companys five-person pipe and tube trading team in Houston left the firm on May 7. It was not immediately clear whether Coutinho & Ferrostaal had named replacements.
Sources said the former Coutinho & Ferrostaal traders already have plans to re-enter the steel importing space through the backing of an unnamed European trading house.
The traders reported exit comes on the heels of a major management shift at the company.
The trading house, a subsidiary of Coutinho & Ferrostaal GmbH, came under the ownership of Grupo Villacero SA de CV in March 2012. The Monterrey, Mexico-based service center group previously held a one-third stake in the German trader but decided to acquire the other two-thirds to expand its global footprint (amm.com, March 9, 2012).
A number of management changes occurred shortly after the acquisition, including the departure of the German parent companys former chief executive officer and president, Enrique Gasca, as well as John D. Foster, the Houston subsidiarys former chief executive officer and president (amm.com, July 30). The company then made a number of internal and organization changes, including naming Guajardo to his current role (amm.com, July 31).
A spokesman for Grupo Villacero did not respond to a request for comment.
Importing many steel products has been particularly difficult in recent years due to the narrowing of a spread between domestic and foreign prices, trader sources have told AMM. However, the pipe and tube sector has remained somewhat resilient due to the strong energy industry, particularly in the major steel trading hub of Houston.