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Worthington fortifies cylinders business

Keywords: Tags  Worthington Industries, pressure cylinders, Andrew Billman, oil, gas, compressed natural gas, consumer products, shale energy Palmer Manufacturing & Tank

CHICAGO — Worthington Industries Inc. has expanded into cylinders manufacturing to such a degree that its operating profit exceeded steel’s during the 12 months ended May 31.

Worthington entered this industry four years ago, making a dozen acquisitions, most recently Garden City, Kan.-based Palmer Manufacturing & Tank Inc. These companies build oil and gas holding tanks, production and separator tanks, and myriad other products containing fuels and gases from propane to helium. Worthington’s acquisition streak was triggered by the burgeoning U.S. shale plays and traditional Western energy business.

"BP (Plc), Marathon (Oil Corp.) and major companies are investing billions around the energy play," Worthington Cylinders president Andrew J. Billman told AMM.

Worthington Cylinders already has the "core competency needed to operate in highly regulated industries" ranging from petroleum to barbecue grill gas, he said.

Worthington offers its cylinder operations "scale and financial resources. We are trying to double production at those companies: We’re adding shifts and hiring high-skilled welders."

The business makes tanks for hydrogen, propane and compressed natural gas and is developing liquid natural gas tanks "for all possible uses. The adoption of (compressed natural gas) is happening really fast," along with research and development on adapting vehicles to hydrogen. "Massive steel tanks don’t travel well," so imports are limited, Billman said.

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