Rocla Concrete frees Lehigh Hanson, Koppers partnership from railroad ties

Sources: Rocla Concrete Tie Inc., Lakewood, Colo.; CP staff

The North American leader in prestressed concrete railroad ties has broadened its market footprint and product range with the acquisition of KSA Limited Partnership, a Lehigh Hanson Inc. and Koppers Inc. joint venture serving primarily Eastern U.S. markets from a Portsmouth, Ohio, plant.

“This business complements Rocla’s strategic initiative of expanding its product solutions to the railroad industry,” notes Rocla Concrete CEO Peter Urquhart. “We also anticipate KSA will provide a platform for further opportunities to grow the business.”

KSA was founded in 1992 as a joint venture between Pittsburgh-based Koppers, Lehigh-backed Sherman International, and Sweden’s Abetong—a sister Lehigh business under Heidelberg Cement. It is strongest in turnout and grade crossing ties, but also offers conventional cross ties and companion concrete products for the railroad industry. KSA’s customer base extends to Class I railroads, plus commuter and transit system operators.

Rocla entered the U.S. in 1987 with Australian investors, and now operates plants in Pueblo, Colo.; Amarillo, Texas; Bear, Delaware; and, San Jose Iturbi, Mexico. Major customers include Amtrak, Burlington Northern and Union Pacific, plus operators of Class I railroads, light rail/transit systems, high-speed corridors and intermodal ports. Rocla is now a portfolio company of Connecticut-based Altus Capital Partners, which specializes in investments in domestic, middle-market manufacturing businesses.