Corrugated drainage pipe producer Armtec Ltd. plans to expand under new ownership.
Armtec of Guelph, Ontario, was bought Aug. 20 by an affiliate of venture capital giant Onex Corp. of Toronto. The new owner, Oncap LP, will pursue internal growth and acquisitions for Armtec, Oncap Managing Director Michael Lay said in a news release.
Armtec already has been expanding in high density polyethylene drainage pipe through its Big `O' business, according to Chuck Phillips, the firm's president and chief executive officer. In July it bought Plastidrain Ltd. of St. Clet, Quebec, out of bankruptcy, and it recently reopened a Big `O' pipe extrusion plant in Forest, Ontario, that burned down a year ago.
Armtec bought corrugated plastic pipe extruder Big `O' in February 1998. Armtec also makes corrugated steel pipe and other steel products for infrastructure, natural resource, agriculture and construction markets.
Oncap is a C$400 million (US$260 million) investment partnership established by Onex and several large Canadian pension funds and financial institutions. Its other major investments are CMC Electronics Inc. and EnSource Energy Services Inc. Onex is a diverse conglomerate with consolidated sales last year of C$24.5 billion (US$16.5 billion), making it the fourth-largest company in Canada.
Armtec's former owner was Vicwest Corp. of Oakville, Ontario. Vicwest is a subsidiary of Magnatrax Corp., a Eufaula, Ala., producer of pre-engineered metal buildings and metal construction components. Phillips said in a telephone interview that plastic pipe made by Big `O' is among the fastest-growing products for his company. Markets for such pipe are strong as governments in Canada and the United States invest in roads and other infrastructure upgrades.
Armtec's other plastic pipe plants are in Comber, Chesterville and Woodstock, Ontario; in St. Augustine, Quebec; and Prince George, British Columbia. Armtec established the facilities in St. Augustine and Prince George after it bought family-owned Big `O.' Armtec's total sales, including steel products, were C$122 million (US$82 million) last year.
Onex subsidiaries include electronics contract manufacturer Celestica Inc., Lantic Sugar Ltd. and Dura Automotive Systems Inc.