Strong returns spur investor’s sale of Rocla Tie to German rail specialist

Vossloh AG of Werdohl, Germany, has closed on Denver-based Rocla Concrete Tie Inc., the leader in prestressed concrete railroad and turnout ties for Class I, commuter passenger, transit authority and industrial lines. Seller Altus Capital Partners II L.P., a Wilton, Conn., private equity firm, had held Rocla Concrete since mid-2013.

Altus Capital backed ambitious capital outlays, topped by the construction of a Pueblo, Colo., flagship to replace a dated Denver plant. PHOTOS: Concrete Products
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“The acquisition enhances our profile as a provider of integrated, comprehensive solutions for rail infrastructure customers while strengthening our position in [a] focus market,” says Vossloh CEO Dr. Hans Schabert. “Rocla is firmly established in the U.S. and serves the most important customers in the rail industry.”

Rocla Concrete joins the Vossloh Core Components division as a second business unit, Ties Technologies, alongside complementary Fastening Systems. Vossloh North America is based in Charlotte, N.C., and billed as an “an all-round provider [of] track fasteners, switches, signaling technology and rail-related services.”

During its most recent fiscal year, Rocla Concrete logged just under $90 million in shipments from plants in Pueblo, Colo.; Amarillo, Texas; Bear, Del.; Portsmouth, Ohio; Ft Pierce, Fla.; Tucson, Ariz.; and, San Jose Iturbide, Mexico. Under Altus Capital Partners II, sales doubled amid strong tie contract activity and investments netting two new plants and two bolt-on operations.

“We have been fortunate to work with Altus Capital Partners in strengthening [our] growth platform over the last three years,” affirms Rocla CEO Peter Urquhart. “[Managing Partner] Russ Greenberg and his team brought more than just financial resources; they worked hand in hand with our management team on both strategy and tactics, demonstrating their commitment to our growth as real partners.”


The Rocla business will operate as Ties Technologies in the Vossloh Core Components division, joining the Fastening Systems business. In addition to track fasteners, the latter is also known for switches. PHOTO: Vossloh Group

Altus Capital acquired Rocla Concrete to participate in the expected need of superior and durable concrete ties that reduce maintenance and prolong rail life. Outlays allowed Rocla to further expand its customer base, product offerings and reach throughout the U.S. and Mexico. Major customers include Amtrak, Burlington Northern and Union Pacific, as well as other Class I railroads, light rail/transit projects, high-speed corridors and industrial/ports across the continent. In addition to concrete ties, the Rocla portfolio includes switch ties, plus concrete low vibration track blocks and crossing panels.