Valmont Newmark sets new peak in prestressed poles, financial performance

Sources: CP staff; Valmont Industries, Omaha, Neb.

By Don Marsh

A recent expansion has made the Bellville, Texas, operation the largest of six Valmont Newmark spun cast, prestressed pole plants. Batching and production capacity investment enables the producer to fabricate up to 140-ft. structures, which are competitive with steel poles alternatives and well suited to carry 345kV lines to which utilities are switching in transmission upgrades. Additional demand for structures supporting the high voltage lines is being driven by the need for bringing power from west Texas wind farms to the state’s population centers in the east.

Valmont Newmark has added 300 ft. to an open-air, 600- x 95-ft. production building; oriented a new batch plant around existing and new casting lines; and built a second spinner to accommodate large, cylindrical molds. Principal equipment suppliers on the expansion—a design/build undertaking of San Antonio-based Plant Architects + Plant Outfitters—include Columbia Machine Batching Division, mold supplier B+S GmbH, and gantry crane specialist Shuttlelift Inc. A full report on the Valmont Newmark/Bellville operation can be viewed on pages 22-26 in Concrete Products’ October digital edition.

A successor to Sherman Utility Structures, in which Birmingham, Ala.-based Sherman International was a founding partner, Valmont Newmark has developed the spun cast, prestressed concrete pole market along side its steel pole and lattice structure businesses—all under the Utility Structures Division of Valmont Industries. In an upbeat, third-quarter earnings report comparing 2011 versus 2010 figures, the parent company cited the division’s 51 percent operating income improvement on 31 percent sales increase. “Electric utility companies have increased capital spending on projects to add physical capacity and increase the reliability of the transmission grid,” Valmont Industries tells investors. “We believe a growing pipeline of large projects is expected to stimulate demand for structures for a number of years.”