JD Fields & Company, Inc. – a subsidiary of the Fields Companies – announced its acquisition of the piling division of Pittsburgh, Pa.-based L.B. Foster Company (Foster) in a transaction valued at US$24 million.
The deal to purchase a portion of one of the oldest steel piling distributors in the U.S., significantly increases the capacity and production of JD Fields & Co. as a steel piling manufacturer, fabricator and distributor for deep foundation and geostructural products. The acquisition provides JD Fields with the majority of Foster’s current piling inventory and customer backlog, significantly expanding the 36-year-old company’s reach and market share.
Photos courtesy JD Fields & Company
The purchase also transfers Foster’s steel yard in Northern California to JD Fields as well as its yard adjacent to the Gerdau Steel Mill campus in Petersburg, Va., that produces wide flange beams, H-piling and PZC sheet piling, along with H-piling and flat sheets at its mill in Midlothian, Texas. The agreement will allow the Houston-based company to offer a wide variety of Gerdau steel products for the domestic piling market, making JD Fields a preferred Gerdau distributor of PZC and PS sheet piling in the U.S. As part of the transaction, Foster entered a non-compete agreement, which precludes marketing, selling and distributing steel piling for heavy civil and marine applications in the U.S. and its territories, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean for a period of five years.
“This is a major step towards achieving our goal of becoming the top-rated domestic steel piling distributor and manufacturer in North America,” said Jay Fields, chief operating officer of JD Fields & Company and chief executive officer at the Fields Companies. “The Foster piling acquisition will exponentially increase our market share and product offerings just as the country embarks on the massive undertaking of rebuilding our civil and maritime infrastructure. JD Fields is perfectly positioned to service the untold number of projects that will soon need a reliable supply of homegrown steel piling products.”
The move also complements the addition of the Fields Companies’ new subsidiary JDF-HDM Spiralweld – a state-of-the-art mill currently rising in east Houston that will manufacture tubular products for transportation, utility, marine and infrastructure foundation projects and related specialty structural steel products. Combined, the transactions will give JD Fields the ability to streamline the production and distribution of American-made steel piling products that can efficiently serve domestic civil projects as the U.S. reinvests in its aging infrastructure.
The announcement of the Foster piling division purchase marks a homecoming of sorts for JD Fields & Company founder Jerry Fields, who spent 17 years rising through the ranks to become president of the pipe division at the storied firm before leaving with three other Foster executives to start his own steel supply company in 1985. Since that time, JD Fields has grown into a leading international supplier and distributor of API line pipe for oil and gas applications and piling systems for heavy civil, port/marine projects.
“It feels a little bit like déjà vu,” said the elder Fields. “Jay is taking a division we’ve had since we first incorporated JD Fields and building it up into a major pile and equipment business. It thrills me to witness the evolution and diversification of the company under Jay’s leadership, and I couldn’t be prouder of him and of all the dedicated employees at JD Fields.”
The deal comes at a time of tremendous growth for the Fields Companies, which acquired Alameda Pipe & Fab in 2020, before launching JDF-HDM Spiralweld and JDF Equipment, as well as Bear Dean Capital, LLC – an investment company focused on real estate, hospitality and production – and Foxgate Capital, a real estate private equity fund.