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Veritas Steel sees growth in infrastructure

Keywords: Tags  Veritas Steel, PDM Bridge, Richard Phillips, steel bridges, steel usage, project sizes, heavy structures, United Steelworkers union Michael Bolton

CHICAGO — Veritas Steel LLC, which fabricates steel bridge components, anticipates growth in spending on U.S. infrastructure improvements and expansion into heavy-structure projects other than bridges, one director said.

Veritas was formed recently when private equity management firm Atlas Holdings LLC acquired PDM Bridge LLC and its facilities in Palatka, Fla., and Eau Claire and Wausau, Wis. (, Nov. 6).

It’s too early to say if Veritas will seek out acquisitions in the bridge building sector, "but it’s safe to say we’re excited about investment in U.S. infrastructure and it’s fair to say we are looking to grow organically or through acquisitions," director Richard Phillips said.

Veritas manufactures 70,000 tons of steel bridges per year using structural and plate products, he said. This volume "places us as the third-largest bridge builder in the country."

Chicago-based Veritas inherits PDM Bridge’s 70-year history as a market leader that fabricates and erects complex bridges—arch, truss and bascule bridges that are usually over water, according to Phillips, who was recently executive vice president and chief financial officer of structural steel fabricator Hirschfeld Industries LP.

"We also do plate and tub girder bridges for highway overpasses," which typically consume 4,000 to 5000 tons of steel, but "some use 10,000 tons or more. We do them all," he said. "Plate girder bridges are plain Jane (compared with complex types), but if the bridge is over 125 feet long and straight, it’s a good candidate for steel."

PDM’s contracts ranged from $1 million to as high as $30 million. About average would be $3 million to $5 million, Phillips said. "We have capacity to do projects as large as $50 million to $75 million," he said.

A key attraction of PDM’s sale to Greenwich, Conn.-based Atlas, he said, is that Veritas now has the clean balance sheet and financial support to bond higher-value projects.

Veritas will look to become more involved in heavy steel projects other than bridges. "We certainly have that capacity," he said, citing a launch pad PDM built for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Merritt Island, Fla. "We’ll look for product line and capacity growth, among other opportunities," he said.

Veritas will retain 400 PDM employees. The purchase was supported by the United Steelworkers union and Ironworkers Shopmen’s Local 811. "This acquisition is a win-win for the (union) and for the future of the steel fabrication industry," USW District 2 director Michael Bolton said.

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