LOS ANGELES Domestic
producers of energy tubulars saw weak first-quarter results
across the board, and the industry is now a step nearer to
filing a trade complaint, according to Scott Montross,
president and chief executive officer of Northwest Pipe Co.
The industry has moved "closer
to the potential of the trade case now than we were six or
seven weeks ago," Montross said during a quarterly earnings
call with investors.
Montross described falling
margins as a "relatively common theme" for domestic producers,
including Vancouver, Wash.-based Northwest Pipe (
amm.com, May 7).
"If you look at where some of
our competitors earnings were in the first quarter of
2012 versus where they are in the first quarter of 2013,
theyre half of what they were," Montross said.
He added that the percentage of
producers profit margins on tubulars that carry American
Petroleum Institute (API) designation fell to a range of 8 to 9
percent from the "mid- to high teens" in the year-ago
While Montross noted that
imports in some cases have taken 50 percent of the market, he
said it doesnt appear theyve gained additional
share in recent months. Nevertheless, he said, low import
prices continue to have a dampening effect on domestic
But Montross also said that
imports are probably here to stay, and trade complaints
wont guarantee profits for domestic producers. "There
will always be competitioncompetition from
importsand we cant really rely on trade cases to
generate the profitability of our business," he said.
Executives at two other
producers discussed the possibility of a trade case during
their first-quarter earnings calls earlier this month (
amm.com, May 3).