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Tulsa-based First Process Steel is sold to Texas firm

By: Phil Mulkins – Tulsa World

Two brothers who own a Fort Worth metals firm announced Monday they have acquired Tulsa fabrication and cutting firm First Process Steel Inc. for an undisclosed sum.

Eric and Ryan Letz, owners of Willbanks Metals Inc. in Fort Worth, said they acquired First Process to add opportunities with the heat exchanger and oil field equipment manufacturing businesses at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. First Process, founded nearly 20 years ago by Dan Newton, is a steel fabrication site specializing in plasma cutting and steel-shearing machines.Ryan Letz, WillBanks Metals CEO and president, said Newton plans to eventually retire “but will remain with us for two years acting as strategic project manager.”Newton’s son-in-law, Brad Swearingen, will remain as general manager. In fact, the new owners also plan to keep the First Process Steel name and the 53 employees now working in the office and plant at 2678 N. Harvard Ave.

“This acquisition will greatly enhance our family of steel companies and our service offerings as well as open up a new geographic presence,” Ryan Letz said. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome First Process Steel — their employees, customers and all their partnerships — to the Willbanks Metals family.”

He said the purchase was made “to open up a new opportunity in oil and gas equipment and heat exchanger manufacturing — a new geographic market for us — and furthers our goal to distribute steel in that area (north of Texas). Diversification is the key to success in this business and we sought to diversify in this new market with some new manufacturers, for us to move forward.”

The CNC (computer numerically controlled) cutting machines at First Process are capable of precisely cutting 6-inch steel shapes from 12-by-60-foot plates, according to the company’s website. Its primary customer is Valmont Industries, maker of the towering, welded steel power poles that hold major transmission lines.

Newton talked to the Tulsa World 14 months ago about his business success. He credited Tulsa’s strong manufacturing base and remembered heeding an advisory group’s warnings that helped First Process avoid some of the pitfalls of the Great Recession.

“Do not beat yourself up over mistakes,” Newton replied when asked about the most important lesson he learned as an owner. “Just know that mistakes provide us with great opportunities for correction and growth.”

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Harsco purchases Hammco

By: Ray Tuttle – Journal Record

CATOOSA – Harsco Corp., in a move that allows the diversified global industrial company to expand into a new market, reported the purchase of Hammco Corp. on Monday.

Hammco is an Owasso-based maker of coolers for the natural gas and petrochemical processing industries. Going forward, it will be managed by Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers, or AXC, which is a unit of Camp Hill, Pa.-based Harsco. Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers employs 435 people at its facility at the Tulsa Port of Catoosa. Hammco will become a unit within the Harsco Industrial division known as Harsco Industrial Hammco LLC.Terms of the transaction were not disclosed, said Randy Benson, AXC vice president of sales and marketing.“This will be a nice complement to our business,” Benson said. “We will able to expand into a new area.”The strategic initiative to purchase Hammco took about 18 months, Benson said.

“This is an opportunity to expand as we saw that the process market was an underserved market for us,” Benson said.

Hammco, which employs 80 people at a facility on 16 acres in Owasso, will provide products that complement those of AXC, Benson said. AXC makes air-cooled heat exchangers used in natural gas compression and other industries.

The Harsco facility, one of four in the Tulsa area, operates inside a 315,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at the port.

AXC products are used worldwide, Benson said. The equipment protects gas compression equipment and controls the conditioning of natural gas from the wellhead through compression, processing and delivery through a pipeline distribution system. AXC also makes lube oil cooling systems for turbine operators and has adapted its designs for use in power generation and other applications.

The two Tulsa-area companies will operate separately, Benson said. Both companies will support their own product lines with a separate engineering and sales organization. Officials from both companies will report to AXC Vice President and General Manager Eric Clower.
Hammco, founded in 1971 by Charles Helscel, makes air-cooled heat exchangers for the natural gas and petrochemical processing markets.
Harsco Industrial Air-X-Changers has been an air-cooled heat exchanger manufacturer since 1954.

Parent Harsco’s common stock fell 51 cents per share in trading Monday in the New York Stock Exchange, closing at $27.47 per share. The stock, using the ticker HSC, is a component of the S&P MidCap 400 Index and the Russell 1000 Index.

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Tulsa Port of Catoosa Shipping Nears Annual Record

By: Phil Mulkins – Tulsa World

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa reported Thursday outbound shipping tonnage was on track to set a “best year of all time” with 2,467,600 tons through November, nearly equaling 2012’s record tonnage with December still to add, said David Page, Chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority.

November’s total was 233,519 tons of cargo shipping through the Port.Outbound shipping rose substantially due to increased movement of soy products and fertilizers, totaling 173,562 tons last month, the highest outbound total since July. Of 127 barges moving through the port in November, 35 carried soy products.

Hiring at the port also continued to increase, among the 66 industries within the Port’s industrial park, a 2,500-acre complex. The Port employs more than 4,000 people, a record number for the facility.

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Port of Catoosa on track for ‘best year of all time’

By: Staff Reporter – Tulsa World

The Tulsa Port of Catoosa reported Thursday that outbound shipping was on track to become the “best year of all time,” with 2,467,600 tons through November, nearly equaling 2012’s record tonnage with December still to add, said David Page, chairman of the City of Tulsa-Rogers County Port Authority.

November’s total was 233,519 tons of cargo shipping through the port. The annual record for outbound cargo was set last year at 2,702,464 tons.Outbound shipping rose substantially due to increased movement of soy products and fertilizers, totaling 173,562 tons last month, the highest outbound total since July. Of 127 barges moving through the port in November, 35 carried soy products.Hiring also continued to increase among the 66 industries in the 2,500-acre industrial park at the port. More than 4,000 people are employed at the complex, a record number.

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