Jun 27, 2023

Charlotte Pipe builds iron castings business with acquisition

Pipe extrusion at Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co.

Plastic pipe maker Charlotte Pipe and Foundry Co. is expanding the iron castings side of its operation.

Effective July 13, the company purchased Neenah Enterprises Inc. and its three plants, in Neenah, Wis.; Medley, Fla.; and Lincoln, Neb. The plants make construction and industrial castings.

"Neenah's a very well-run company … and when we found out it was for sale, we couldn't pass it up. The synergies there work very well for both businesses," Bradford Muller, Charlotte's vice president of communications, said by phone July 15.

Neenah Enterprises has been in business 150 years, and Charlotte Pipe is no newcomer, having launched in 1901 — though it didn't enter plastics until 1967. Privately held Charlotte Pipe employs more than 1,500 and claims to be the largest manufacturer of plastic drain-waste-vent pipe in the United States.

Muller said plastics make up about two-thirds of the company's overall volume. The company has a 1 million-square-foot factory in Monroe, N.C., and five other plants that primarily extrude PVC and chlorinated PVC pipe in Florida, Texas, Alabama, Pennsylvania and Utah. The Utah plant also injection molds ABS fittings.

Charlotte Pipe is constructing a new greenfield iron foundry about 30 miles east of Charlotte in Oakboro, N.C., that is expected to begin operating in the third quarter of 2023. The state-of-the-art facility will replace the company's long-standing Charlotte foundry.

"We will eventually close down the foundry in Charlotte, though that probably won't happen until late 2023," Muller said.

Hooper Hardison, Charlotte Pipe president and CEO, said in a news release, "This [Neenah] acquisition in an adjacent sector builds on our core competency in the manufacturing of [gray] iron castings. We believe that Charlotte Pipe's financial strength and manufacturing expertise will strengthen Neenah's portfolio."

Charlotte Pipe tied for No. 13 in Plastics News' 2022 ranking of North American pipe, profile and tubing extruders, with estimated plastic pipe sales of $470 million.

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