Reliance Steel & Aluminum shows its mettle as North America's largest metals service center company. Through a network of 220-plus service and distribution centers (many dealing only in specialty metals), it processes and distributes more than 100,000 metal products worldwide to some 125,000 customers in a broad range of industries. It markets carbon, alloy, stainless steel, and specialty steel products, as well as aluminum, brass, copper, and titanium products. Markets include the aerospace, construction, manufacturing, semiconductor and electronics, and transportation industries. Founded in 1939, Reliance operates in 38 US states, as well as in Canada and Mexico. It also has sites in Asia and Europe.
Reliance achieved net sales of $8.13 billion in 2011, a 29% jump over the previous year. Demand in such markets as energy and agricultural and mining equipment industries led the growth. Sales were up in almost all of the company's end markets, with the exception of nonresidential construction, its largest, which continued to lag behind pre-recession levels. Although pricing volatility and weakened demand affected the company's gross profit margins, its net income soared 77% over the previous year, reaching $343.8 million as the company tightened cost controls.
In the past few years, Reliance has shifted its focus to internal growth, including opening new plants and adding to its processing capabilities or relocating centers to new facilities. It also continues to expand the types of metals it sells and the processing services it offers. The company expects to continue to grow through strategic acquisitions and internal initiatives that broaden its product offerings, geographic reach, and customer base.
To further expand in the perforated metals market in 2012, Reliance acquired McKey Perforating (New Berlin, Wisconsin) and its subsidiary, McKey Perforated Products (Manchester, Tennessee), which are metal perforating and fabrication service centers. The price was undisclosed. It also bought special alloy steel bar and heavy-wall tubing distributor Sunbelt Steel Texas, which had $48 million in sales in 2011.
That year it moved to expand its operations in Tennessee again when subsidiary Precision Strip acquired the Worthington Steel Vonore plant, part of Worthington Industries, for an undisclosed price. The plant processes and distributes carbon steel, aluminum, and stainless steel products on a toll basis (processing the metal for a fee without taking ownership of it).
Mergers & Acquisition
Still on a buying spree in 2012, Reliance acquired Texas-based National Specialty Alloys (NSA). NSA is a global specialty alloy processor and distributor of stainless steel and nickel alloy bars and shapes. It also ventured abroad that year to acquire the assets of Airport Metals (Australia) Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Samuel Son & Co., for an undisclosed sum. The purchase gives the company's new subsidiary, Bralco Metals (Australia) Pty Ltd, entry into the Australian market to service aircraft and other customers.
In 2012 the company also acquired, through subsidiary Feralloy Corporation, Alabama-based GH Metal Solutions for an undisclosed price. GH Metal is a carbon steel products processor and fabricator with about $44 million in annual sales.
A key addition for serving energy companies came in 2011, when Reliance acquired Houston-based Continental Alloys & Services for about $200 million. Continental is a materials management company that supplies steel and alloy pipe, tube, and bar products and manufactures various tools designed for energy service companies. It has 12 locations in seven countries.
In the last decade, Reliance has been on something of a spending binge, buying up a number of smaller rivals. The company has grown significantly over the years through a series of acquisitions, both large and small. After its IPO in 1994, Reliance picked up more than 45 businesses, although the economy in 2009 slowed its pace. – less