Lamson & Sessions Co. of Beachwood, Ohio, has hired financial advisers as it considers the future of the company, which could mean a sale.
The publicly held pipe and fittings maker hired Brown, Gibbons, Lang & Co. of Cleveland. Officials said the company may consider many scenarios, including taking the firm private, restructuring, a joint venture, an acquisition or a sale of parts or all of the business.
Lamson has been working to reduce its debt level. As of July 3, the company had long-term debt of $84.1 million. Officials said its secured credit agreement matures in August, and Lamson will defer refinancing efforts until Brown concludes its efforts.
When Lamson reports its third-quarter results, most of its long-term debt will be reclassified to current. The company said it should not have difficulty getting a new secured agreement at the right time because the operating performance is improving.
``We've had a lot of input from people over the last few years over balance-sheet structure. We've had people telling us we should be putting in long-term permanent debt, that that would help things,'' Jim Abel, Lamson's executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in an Oct. 7 telephone interview.
``We're not under any pressure to do this. We don't have anything in front of us. This is a proactive effort by the board to see what things we maybe should do to help improve shareholder value.''
The company continues to improve sales and operating profitability, John Schulze, Lamson's chairman, president and chief executive officer, said in a news release.
``Our three business segments all have leading positions in their respective markets and possess significant growth opportunities.''
The company has struggled in different areas during the past few years, including its telecommunications infrastructure business. In addition, Lamson has faced eroding profitability in its PVC pipe sector, which Abel said has been a ``continuing challenge for us for a number of years.''
``We'll probably lose money in it this year,'' he said. ``The plants are operating very efficiently. Our pipe business would be doing fine right now if we had stronger end market.''
In high density polyethylene, however, ``business has been improving very well for us this year,'' Abel said. ``Right now, we think we're starting to see the start of the final mile build out. We're in a lot better shape than we were a year ago. This is going to be a long, slow and steady improvement in telecomm.''
Lamson's businesses include Carlon, its telecommunications infrastructure unit; Lamson Home Products, which makes electrical conduit and fittings, lighting controls and dimmers; and Lamson Vylon pipe, through which the firm makes large-diameter PVC pipe.
The company operates injection molding facilities in Clinton, Iowa, and Bowling Green, Ohio; and extrusion facilities in Woodland, Calif.; Nazareth, Pa.; Oklahoma City; Erie, Pa.; Tennille, Ga.; Mount Grove, Mo.; and High Springs, Fla.