Economy & Business
5:34 pm
Tue January 22, 2013

Sewickley-based Esmark Sells Technologies Arm

After being purchased by some of its parent company's largest shareholders, Esmark Technologies will look into building a depot along the Ohio River to house shale equipment.

The Bouchard Group, run by Sewickley-based Esmark Inc. CEO and founder James Bouchard, and Stahlschmidt Incorporated, owned by Esmark’s third largest shareholder, announced the acquisition of the company on Monday.

Esmark Technologies will move its offices to Cleveland, Ohio, where Stahlschmidt’s North American operations are headquartered.  Bouchard said the depot would be built in Ohio, across the Pennsylvania border.

Bouchard said Esmark Technologies was originally designed to look for non-core activities for Esmark, its parent company.

He said investment opportunities would be brought to the company's attention, but it didn’t have resources to follow up because all of the management and personnel were “fully deployed.”

“We just don’t have people we can deploy that falls outside of our steel core, falls outside of our oil and gas core really to go look at those opportunities.”

Pete Schlicht, a financial advisor with Ameriprise Financial, said Esmark got its start as a steel processor.

“They take coils of steel and then slice it up, so to speak, for customer orders,” said Schlicht, “...that could be automotive manufacturers, appliance manufacturers, or a whole host of manufacturers.”

Bouchard said Esmark will continue to work closely with Esmark Technologies.

He said Esmark has property along the Ohio River that Esmark Technologies sees as an important gateway for those involved in the shale gas drilling industry.

Bouchard said they will be looking into setting up a depot for oil and gas related equipment on one of those sites.

Esmark has a history in the energy sector.

“They have about two million barrels of strategic oil reserves. And their key properties are in Nebraska and Oklahoma. Here locally, of course, they’re talking of the shale play,” said Schlicht.

According to Bouchard, Esmark Technologies will be looking into adding opportunities in plate fabrication in one of the three Esmark plants in Meadville, Pennsylvania.

He said the operation for a potential rail supplier should add jobs to the area.