CSR Polypipe Inc. of Houston is heading to the trenches — both the literal and legal kinds.
CSR Polypipe, a division of CSR Hydro Conduit Corp. of Houston, on April 2 announced plans to acquire installer U-Liner Mid-America Inc. of Little Rock, Ark. CSR already closed another deal to purchase Pipeliner Systems Inc. based in Columbus, Ohio.
The deals make the company its own licensed installer in 29 states and mark CSR's first expedition into commercially installing the high density polyethylene folded pipe systems it makes.
In addition to the extra income, the acquisitions also give CSR a chance to improve service to its outside customers, according to Rich Jakovac, vice president of marketing for CSR Pipeline Systems.
``The construction business is a lot different than the manufacturing business,'' Jakovac said in an April 8 telephone interview. ``Installers are a lot closer to the project. We will be able to more closely integrate manufacturing with installation. We're not one step removed from the trenches, so to speak.''
Jakovac said he expects the ULMA deal to close ``within a week.''
If the deal proceeds as it is planned, former ULMA President John Burkhalter will become vice president and general manager in charge of CSR's installation business.
CSR Pipeliner Systems was started in 1995 when CSR Hydro Conduit, a major concrete pipe manufacturer, acquired Pipe Liners Inc. of New Orleans along with the company's patents and technology.
Since then CSR has initiated patent lawsuits against other companies that make similar, folded plastic pipes used to repair sewer lines.
CSR first sued Binghamton, N.Y.-based American Pipe and Plastics Inc. in 1995, and reopened the case Dec. 9 after a brief lull.
Now CSR is targeting four other companies that either manufacture or install similar products.
Named in the lawsuits are Griner's Pipeline Services Inc. of Mount Dora, Fla., an installer of American Pipe's PVC-based product; Pipelining Products Inc. of Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., a licensor and installer of Sure-Line Pipe; Ultraliner Inc. of Oxford, Ala.; and G.B. Cooke Inc. of Azusa, Calif., an installer of Ultraliner's PVC products.