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Trinity Industries Rolls Up Meyer Steel

Tickers in this article: ABB BELFA NTK TRN

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- Trinity Industries  said Friday it has a deal in place to acquire the Meyer Steel Structures business of ABB  for $600 million in cash, continuing the buyer's aggressive M&A drive.

Meyer Steel, headquartered in Memphis, is a maker of engineered steel mono pole structures used by utilities for power transmission and distribution. The business employs more than 1,100 at four U.S. manufacturing facilities, generating annual sales of about $325 million.

Dallas-based Trinity, which is also a manufacturer of railcars, barges and construction products, said that the unit would be folded into its energy equipment group. The company has already done three other deals this year, and CEO Timothy R. Wallace telegraphed his interest in more purchase during a Feb. 20 call with investors.

Wallace said Friday that this latest purchase would expand Trinity's presence in the utility structure market.

"Meyer will fit very well within our portfolio of companies and supports our vision of being a premier, diversified industrial company," Wallace said. "Opportunities to acquire companies with a market-leading reputation and set of competencies like Meyer's do not surface often."

Trinity expects to fund the purchase price with available cash on hand. The company noted it had $1.5 billion in total liquidity at the end of the first quarter, in a statement saying "Trinity will continue seeking opportunities to grow its portfolio of businesses."

ABB acquired Meyer Steel as part of its 2012 purchase of Thomas & Betts for $3.9 billion. Company CEO Ulrich Spiesshofer in a statement said that the sale "is in line with our strategy for continuous portfolio optimization and reflects the limited synergies that the steel structures business has with our core business."

Spiesshofer said ABB's integration of Thomas & Betts is on track, saying ABB bought the company to fuel "significant growth opportunities for our low voltage products division in North America and beyond."

The company in March sold the heating, ventilation and air conditioning business of Thomas & Betts to Nortek for $260 million in cash, and in April sold its power solutions business to Bel Fuse  for $117 million.

JPMorgan Securities and K&L Gates advised Trinity on the Meyer purchase.