NEW YORK Allied
Tube & Conduit Corp.s performance has improved so far
this year across its end markets serving the nonresidential
construction sector, although the sectors overall
recovery remains subdued, according to Steve Robins, vice
president of strategic sourcing at parent company Atkore
International Holdings Inc.
"While we forecast
growth in the marketplace of around 2 percent, were doing
slightly better," Robins said on the sidelines of the Steel
Success Strategies XXVIII conference in New York sponsored by
AMM and Englewood Cliffs, N.J.-based World Steel
However, "the pace of
recovery is disappointing," he added. As a result, prices have
come under pressure, although Allied Tube is running ahead of
last years shipment levels.
"(The market) is very
competitive," Robins said. "While our volume is up in tons
sold, its again a very difficult time from a price
But some positive
leading indicators like residential construction might bode
well for the nonresidential sector. "The barometers we use to
measure non-res(idential) construction suggest that the market
improvement is right around the corner. ... And yet every
quarter we read those market barometers and they say the same
he said, adding that the Harvey, Ill.-based company believes
flat-rolled steel prices have bottomed out, with little
visibility on the upside.
"We think that after a
sustained decay after the past eight months, we acknowledge
that the steel industry has created a price floor through the
last two price increase announcements," Robins said. "The
follow(-up) to that is: Is it sustainable, and (for) how
The recent flat-rolled
price increases have led Allied Tube to hike prices for most of
its products. "We are trying to make sure that we dont
get behind from a cost-price standpoint on any of those
products," he said.
Allied Tube serves the
mechanical, electrical, sprinkler and fence markets. "We are
the leader in almost all of those," Robins said.