Perry looks to buy steel unit from Fletcher

Commerce Commission considering acquisition by Hamilton-based group.

Photo / Steven McNicholl
Photo / Steven McNicholl

Hamilton-based Perry Group has lodged an application with the Commerce Commission to buy one of Fletcher Building's units.

Perry Metal Protection, a subsidiary of the family-owned group, is looking to buy Fletcher's CSP Coating galvanised steel unit for an undisclosed sum.

The move comes after Fletcher put the unit on the block in July last year. It would give Perry new plants in Auckland and Christchurch.

Perry will sell an unnamed unit to stop it from gaining a monopoly in galvanised steel in the South Island. Galvanising is the process of immersing steel in molten zinc to create a protective layer.

Fletcher Building, the country's biggest listed company, is looking to replace some of its treated metal products with imports.

The move comes after Fletcher put the unit on the block in July last year. It would give Perry new plants in Auckland and Christchurch.

Fletcher's underperforming steel business has indicated it "will import certain pre-galvanised products that are currently galvanised at CSP", the application said, adding that local galvanisers compete indirectly with those imported products.

The construction company carved up its steel business last year, adding its long steel and distribution units, which include CSP, with its concrete unit to create a new infrastructure segment, and shifting its coated steel business under the building products division.

Fletcher's steel unit posted a 42 per cent decline in annual earnings to $48 million on a 5.3 per cent fall in sales to $1.15 billion. That was about 13 per cent of Fletcher's total revenue.

If Perry isn't cleared by the antitrust regulator to buy the Fletcher business, the construction company will sell the unit to another party, the application said.

Perry's main interest is in CSP's Auckland operation, which it plans to use to create efficiencies with its recently built plant in Te Rapa, Hamilton.

The Hamilton-based group's galvanised steel business operates plants in Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch.

Perry Group holds interests in property projects in the central North Island, dairy farms, quarries, and plumbing supplies.

A decision on the clearance application is expected on January 29.

*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Fletcher Building had sold its CSP Coating Systems business. The business has not yet been sold.

- BusinessDesk

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