Harsco plans global access expansion

By Murray Pollok23 December 2008

Harsco aims to expand its US scaffolding and formwork business, Patent Construction Systems.

Harsco aims to expand its US scaffolding and formwork business, Patent Construction Systems.

Harsco Corp, owner of the Patent Construction Systems and SGB scaffolding and formwork businesses, is planning a significant growth of its North America business as part of a global expansion strategy that will also eventually see the rebranding of all its scaffolding businesses under the Harsco name.

Speaking to analysts on 12 December Geoff Butler, president and chief executive officer of Harsco Infrastructure (formerly Harsco's Access Services division), said the aim was to increase the North American share of its access and formwork revenues from 19 percent in 2008 to 23 percent by 2010-2011. The division reported estimated revenues of $1.55 billion in 2008 and is forecasting 6% growth in 2009.

"North America is the largest construction market anywhere in the world", said Mr Butler, "and we don't have enough of that market and the industrial market that goes with it and we intend to grow it. It's home base, it has no dollar exposure, [and] we can service that business efficiently and effectively. We've got a pretty good platform."

Harsco also aims to expand its scaffolding and formwork business in emerging areas such as the Middle East, India and China, through joint ventures, acquisitions and by leveraging relationships with existing customers of its other businesses, such as Harsco Minerals & Rail and Harsco Metals. This expansion includes a move into new areas: the division currently has 200 locations in 36 countries, but aims to be operating in 45 countries by 2009-2010.

As part of the company's 10 year strategy - under the slogan ‘Climb the Summit' - Harcso is rebranding all its businesses under the Harco name, with the access services brands, SGB, Patent and Hunneneck, all to be changed to Harco Infrastructure.

Butler said; "By 2010 I think the transition will be fully implemented and it will probably be our intention by 2010 to simply let the old trade names of Hunnebeck, Patent and SBG gracefully fade away. And we will headline to everybody as a trading name, Harsco Infrastructure."

Mt Butler said Harsco had an estimated 5% share of the global $30 billion scaffolding and formwork market worldwide; "It's a very fractured market, but we've only got 5% so it doesn't take a lot of imagination to believe and understand that we could double that 5% to 10%...But we've got a be targeted, we've got to be focused and we got to do it the right way."

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