Waiward Steel acquired by Hillcore Group
Local steel fabricator has full order book
By Gary Lamphier, Edmonton Journal April 30, 2015
EDMONTON – Waiward Steel, one of Edmonton’s largest steel fabrication and industrial construction firms, has been acquired by Hillcore Group, a major private equity firm.
Terms of the deal weren’t disclosed.
Waiward’s co-founders, Don Oborowsky and Theodore Degner, founded the company in 1972 and grew it into one of the city’s most successful manufacturers, currently employing about 635 people at its 216,000-square-foot plant.
Degner’s son Terry Degner, Waiward’s president, will continue in his current role, said Jean-Marc Bougie, CEO of Hillcore Group, which has assets of $3.2 billion and offices across Canada.
“We’ve been working on this transaction with the two co-founders and former owners for over a year and a half, and they were looking at estate planning and a transition plan,” Bougie said.
“They’ve got a great management team in place and we’re delighted to have partnered with them. We just consider ourselves fortunate to be the stewards of Waiward going forward, and we’ll be providing it with the resources they feel they’ll need in the years to come to continue to grow.”
Waiward’s construction arm has been a major source of growth in recent years and is expected to match the revenues of the company’s traditional steel fabrication business this year.
“Even with the drop in oil prices, the business continues to do very very well. It’s really been driven by large projects which continue to move forward in the oilsands. They’re not making as much as when oil was at $120, but even at current levels they’re profitable.”
Bougie said Hillcore is in negotiations with other prospective target companies in Edmonton and across Alberta, with a particular focus on energy services firms.
“We see this as a good time to be coming in, given that we have a long-term view of things and not short term. So absolutely we’re looking for deals specifically in Edmonton and Calgary, and we are in active discussions with a number of owners. We’re looking forward to announcing more deals in the year to come.”