Fit to be tied over wire and cable? Superior Essex aims to offer the best. The company is, plausibly, the world's #1 maker of outside plant (OSP) copper telephone cable. Its copper and fiber-optic products are used in home and office communications networks, and its winding (magnet) wire products connect transformers and motors in cars, industrial machinery, and HVAC systems. The vast majority of customers are in the US, but international clients are on the rise due to the company's global expansion. Regional Bell telephone operating companies are major customers of Superior Essex, as are OEMs such as Delphi and A.O. Smith. Korea-based LS Cable & System has controlled Superior Essex since 2008.
Superior Essex conducts its operations through two business segments. Magnet Wire & Distribution produces wire with an electromagnetic charge. The wire is insulated with copper or aluminum to better serve as a conductor in motors, transformers and generators, automotive components, and appliances. The company's Communications Cable business segment makes OSP products for voice and data transmission that are designed for use outdoors; it also manufactures fiber optic and copper cables that are used indoors for communications applications. Customer purchase products through Superior Essex's distribution divisions -- Essex Brownell and High-Wire Ltd.
In addition to its operations in the US, Superior Essex also has a European presence through Essex Nexans Europe, which is headquartered in France, where it has an enamel plant. Other winding wire locations include plants in Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the UK.
Establishing overseas operations serves a two-fold purpose: expansion and operational efficiency. In 2011 parent company LS Cable & System announced it will spend about $96 million to construct and expand manufacturing facilities for Superior Essex in India, as well as the US. Superior Essex broke ground in 2011 at its new $50 million, 250,000-sq.-ft. power cable manufacturing facility in North Carolina; scheduled completion is 2012. The plant will produce power cables for the commercial, industrial, and utility markets.
In addition to North America and Europe, Superior Essex has particular interest in new market opportunities in Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. The company's subsidiary, Essex Group, acquired the assets of the winding (magnet) wire business belonging to Furukawa Electric (FEC) and its US subsidiary American Furukawa (AFI) in mid-2011. The acquisition will stretch Superior Essex's business into the automotive sector, primarily hybrid and electric vehicle technologies.
In 2010 Essex Group also acquired Piremag, an exclusive distributor for Brazilian magnet wire manufacturer PPE Fios Esmaltados (PPE). The acquisition of assets also includes a distributor agreement with PPE to sell magnet wire in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Looking farther East, Superior Essex acquired a 70% stake in China-based Changzhou Olong Electrical Insulating Materials. The company produces enamel coatings for winding wire used in electrical motor, transformer, and power generation applications.
With support from LS Cable & System, Superior Essex is growing with each acquisition and facility expansion and is reported to be the third-largest wire and cable manufacturing company in the world. Under LS Cable & System's management, the US cable maker restructured in 2010 to take advantage of prospects in energy related industries, along with expanding its parent's presence into the US electricity cable market. – less