Germany’s BASF SE projects a third quarter 2020 closing on the $3.5 billion sale of its Construction Chemicals unit to an affiliate of Lone Star, a global private equity firm with offices in Frankfurt and New York. A subject of speculation since a late-2018 BASF announcement of plans to shop the business, the transaction will include Master Builders concrete admixture and sister brands deeply rooted in construction, maintenance and retrofit. With more than 7,000 employees, the BASF Construction Chemicals business operates production sites and sales offices in more than 60 countries and generated sales of about $2.8 billion in 2018.

“Our aim was to find a new home for our Construction Chemicals business where it can leverage its full potential,” says BASF Executive Director Saori Dubourg. “Under the umbrella of Lone Star, the Construction Chemicals team can focus on a growth path with an industry-specific approach.”

“BASF’s Construction Chemicals business fits very well with our portfolio, complementing our investments in the construction materials industry,” adds Lone Star President, Europe Donald Quintin. “We value the industry-wide recognized knowledge and competence of BASF’s Construction Chemicals experts, backed by a strong track record in innovative products and a compelling R&D pipeline. We look forward to jointly pursuing a growth-oriented business approach.”

Curtiss Dorr

Pennsylvania-based plant controls and fleet management technology specialist Libra Systems has named Curtiss Dorr as director of Sales & Marketing – GPS Asset Tracking. He joins Libra with extensive experience in the GPS space for the construction industry. His experience includes helping concrete, aggregate and asphalt producers optimize their on- and off-road fleets to drive significant profits to the bottom line. Libra Systems, he notes, “offers a fully-integrated automation, point-of-sale, dispatch and GPS solution. I look forward to sharing the benefits of the Sentinel GPS Asset Management Solution with Libra’s thousands of fiercely-loyal clients as well as construction companies looking to more effectively manage their assets.”

Expanded shale and clay lightweight aggregate leader Arcosa Inc., Dallas, is poised to become the top player in recycled concrete material through a $296 million deal for Cherry Industries Inc., whose unique platform of mines and processing facilities spans the Houston metro area. In addition to transportation, commercial and industrial building, plus housing markets, Cherry provides concrete demolition services, primarily to secure raw material for recycled aggregates. Its 12 locations will join Arcosa’s 19 active aggregate and specialty materials locations in the Lone Star State.

“The transaction accelerat[es] the growth of our high-value Construction Products segment,” says Arcosa CEO Antonio Carrillo. “Cherry’s unique platform will provide additional organic and acquisition growth opportunities in Houston and adjacent markets in Texas and the Gulf Coast. Cherry’s unique business model of offering aggregates in combination with recycled aggregates represents an opportunity for Arcosa to replicate in other regions.”

“The acquisition gives us an immediate leadership position in recycled aggregates, a growing product category due to resource scarcity,” he adds. “Recycling aggregates decreases landfill use and improves air quality by reducing haul distances and energy consumption. Cherry is the largest recycled aggregates company in the country, and we look forward to building on [that] position.”

For a second consecutive year, Richmond, Va.-based Luck Companies, the nation’s largest family owned and operated crushed stone and aggregates producer, has been ranked as one of the top three in the Korn Ferry 2019 Employee Engagement Award category. A global organizational consulting firm, Korn Ferry conducts an annual study involving three million respondents from 500-plus companies in more than 60 countries. Winners are chosen based on the largest percentage of employees who “strongly agree” or “agree” with the following statements: “I feel proud to work for the company” and “I would recommend the company as a good place to work.” Luck Companies was selected as a winner in the Small Business category in the U.S.

“This prestigious award recognizes companies that have built superior levels of engagement and work environments in which team members can thrive and want to contribute,” says CEO Charlie Luck.

Real estate development-seasoned KWILL Capital Partners, Chicago, has acquired Circle City Rebar of Indianapolis, an advanced fabricator that has supplied such major concrete projects as the Lucas Oil Stadium (local); O’Hare International Consolidated Rental Car/Parking Facility, Chicago; and, the East End Bridge, linking Indiana and Kentucky over the Ohio River.

“We picked KWILL as a partner because they have a long-term focus, high integrity, and share our passion for service,” says CCR President Frank Davis, who remains with the business and transitions to chairman this year. “They bring excitement, enthusiasm and dynamic thought-leadership to our business, which are the key ingredients to continued growth here in the Midwest and beyond.”

“We are excited to operate CCR with the same customer-first mentality, while maintaining the valuable, decades-long relationships Frank has cultivated with strategic partners and suppliers,” adds KWILL co-principal Hugh Williams, noting that Circle City will continue as a Minority-Owned Business with MBE and DBE designations.

Vancouver-based auctioneer Ritchie Bros. is consolidating two businesses acquired in 2017, IronPlanet and Asset Appraisal Services, to form Ritchie Bros. Inspection Services, available to customers as part of the Asset Solutions program. IronPlanet has offered inspection content and technology for customers of its online marketplaces, including IronClad Assurance equipment condition certification, which ensures buyers receive the equipment they expect. Asset Appraisal Services has become the recognized leader in the commercial truck inspection market by leveraging targeted expertise and proprietary technology solutions.

“We inspect hundreds of thousands of items every year,” says Ritchie Bros. President, International Karl Werner. “We believe we have the best inspection team and technology in the industry and are uniquely positioned to innovate and develop targeted solutions for our increasingly-sophisticated customer base.”

In the year prior to their joining Ritchie Bros., IronPlanet and Asset Appraisal Services inspected more than 100,000 items. In 2019, post-acquisition, the team surpassed 215,000 items, taking 7.5 million photos and analyzing approximately 30,000 oil samples.

Volvo Group Venture Capital AB has invested in Apex.AI, a leading software company in autonomous mobility. The investment will fund the development of a safety-certified software framework for autonomous systems. Founded in 2017, Palo Alto, Calif.-based Apex.AI is building an automotive-grade version of ROS (Robot Operating System), an established open source software framework commonly used in robotics and autonomous systems research. By providing a safer and more reliable version of ROS that will be certified according to the functional safety standard ISO 26262, Apex.AI enables companies to take their autonomous vehicle projects into production.

The role of Volvo Group Venture Capital is to make investments in innovative companies at the forefront of service orientation as well as product differentiation and to support collaboration between startup companies and the Volvo Group. Based on the trends shaping the future of transportation and Volvo Group strategic priorities Volvo Group Venture Capital focus investment areas are Autonomous Solutions, Connected Services and Electromobility.