Pipe maker PW Eagle Inc. will conduct its polyethylene and PVC pipe businesses as separate operations.
The Minneapolis-based extruder is restructuring its two business units to grow both operations, officials said Feb. 20. The PE pipe segment now will be known as PW Poly; the PVC pipe segment will continue operating as PW Pipe. For the PE pipe segment, officials will focus on expanding the business both internally and through acquisition.
PW's eight PVC pipe plants generated 2002 sales of $240 million. The company has one PE pipe plant, in Hastings, Neb., which posted 2002 sales of $11 million.
``This restructuring of our business into separate PVC and PE business units is driven by our commitment to focus on our core business, which is the PVC pipe business,'' Bill Spell, chief executive officer, said in a news release.
``In addition, this restructuring will allow us to commit dedicated resources to our PE business to further realize the untapped potential in that market,'' Spell said.
The change also means a shift in management.
Larry Fleming, PW's current president, will become president of PW Poly. PW has put together an executive committee to oversee the day-to-day operation of PW Pipe: Jack Cobb, executive vice president, operations; Roger Robb, executive vice president and chief financial officer; and Mike Stickel, executive vice president, sales and marketing. Spell will add president to his title.
In a Feb. 12 conference call announcing 2002 results, the firm reported gross profit of $45 million, up from $26 million in 2001. Its net working capital grew from negative $1.4 million at the end of 2001 to positive $13.6 million by the end of 2002.
``Given current industry conditions, we are optimistic about 2003,'' Spell said at the time. ``We anticipate that, due to shortages and high prices for the raw materials that make PVC resin, the demand for PVC resin may be greater than its supply this year, resulting in higher PVC resin prices.
``Additionally, the industry has experienced stronger demand and rising prices during January of this year than would be seasonally expected.''