L. B. Foster can help keep you on track whether you're riding the rails, or cruising the open road. The company manufactures new and relay rail and trackwork used in railroad and mass transit systems, as well as in industrial markets such as mining. L. B. Foster also supplies pipe coatings for oil and natural gas industries and pipe products for industrial, utility, and agricultural water wells. It taps federal, state, and local infrastructure markets, too, selling and renting steel sheet piling and earth wall systems necessary in highway and levee construction and repair. H-bearing piling is made to support bridges and high-rise buildings. US sales account for about 95% of the company's operations.
The company will use new product launches and selective acquisitions as a means of recovering from the economic downturn of 2008-09. Although not a long term solution, L. B. Foster is also maneuvering to take advantage of projects fueled by federal stimulus funding, specifically work connected with funding for high-speed rails.
In 2010 L. B. Foster acquired Portec Rail Products, later changing its name to L.B. Foster Rail Technologies. The approximate $115 million deal gave L. B. Foster an expanded portfolio of rail products, including anchors, spikes, and friction-management tools, and paved the way to serving global railroad markets. The deal also improved L. B. Foster's global footprint. Portec and its subsidiaries had a presence in established markets (Australia, Canada, and the UK) as well as emerging economies (Brazil, China, and Southeast Asia).
The company has already introduced insulated rail joints touting an improved service life, track components and fasteners to minimize slab track system noise and vibration, as well as a track electrification lineup offering improved energy efficiency. In an attempt to bulk up its pipe manufacturing operations in 2009, L. B. Foster created LB Pipe & Coupling Products, a joint venture with Kentucky-based Lally Pipe & Tube, to manufacture couplings and accessories to be used in both water and oil wells.
Looking for highway, road, and bridge construction funding, L. B. Foster has broadened its offerings with a pipe pile featuring material and transportation savings. Its lineup of precast concrete structures, used in pre-fabricated utility buildings, has also expanded. – less