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US approves continued probe against steel products from China

The US International Trade Commission (USITC) Thursday approved continued anti-dumping and countervailing duties investigations against imports of corrosion-resistant steel products from the Chinese mainland. Similar action was taken against India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan.

The decision would allow the US Commerce Department to continue the probes. The department is expected to make preliminary countervailing and anti-dumping duty determinations this year on Aug 27 and Nov 10, separately.

On June 24, the US Commerce Department launched an anti-dumping and countervailing duties probes upon request by the US Steel Corporation based in Pennsylvania and five other US steel companies.

Imports of corrosion-resistant steel products from the Chinese mainland, India, Italy, South Korea and Taiwan were estimated at a total value of $2.2 billion in 2014, according to US official data.

The Chinese Ministry of Commerce has repeatedly urged Washington to abide by its commitment against protectionism and help maintain a free, open and just international trade environment.

Source: Xinhua
Fastenal's Fastener Sales Flatline

Fastenal Co. reported fastener revenue - which represents about 40% of the company's overall business - was flat in the second quarter of 2015.

"Our fastener product line has seen its daily growth decrease from about 10% in the last six months of 2014 to flat in the second quarter of 2015," Fastenal stated in its earnings release.

First-quarter fastener sales achieved 5.5% growth.

"Our market share gains continue to be strong, but the contraction from our existing customers has eliminated our (fastener) growth," the company added.

Overall Q2 sales at Fastenal increased 5% to $997.8 million, primarily due to higher volume. Operating earnings up 8.9% to $225.1 million and net earnings gaining 7.5% to $140.3 million.

FAST Solutions, the company's industrial vending program, recorded a 15.7% gain in installed machines to 50,620, while store count declined 2.5% to 2,616.

During the quarter, Fastenal's workforce increased 7.7% to 19,527, which included a 9.4% rise in store employees to 13,203. The company has added 910 employees to its stores since the beginning of 2015, though its average full-time equivalent headcount grew only 4.4%.

Six-month sales rose 6.8% to $1.95 billion, with operating income growing 11.1% to $428.6 million and net earnings up 10.5% to $268 million.

Source: Global Fastener News
Anixter Fasteners Testing New Name

Anixter Fasteners is testing a new name.

Anixter International agreed to sell its OEM Supply – Fasteners segment to American Industrial Partners (AIP) for $380 million in cash. The deal, which was approved by Anixter’s board of directors, is expected to close during the second quarter of 2015.

The new name of the business could be "Optimas OE Solutions." Optimas is Latin for "of the best."

If approved, the name would change in August.

Anixter Fasteners is a global distributor and manufacturer of highly-engineered fasteners for customers in the heavy truck, power train, luxury automotive, agriculture, construction, recreational vehicles and other verticals. Anixter Fasteners serves customers in 15 countries, and the average relationship among its 10 largest customers exceeds 17 years. The business reported 2014 revenues of $938.5 million and operating profit of $39.1 million.

The Fasteners business includes 73 distribution centers, 12 quality labs and more than 1,900 employees worldwide.

Upon closing, Fasteners will continue to be led by its current management team, with Ian Clarke assuming the role of President and CEO of the new company. The company’s headquarters will remain in Glenview, Illinois.

The name of the new company will be announced upon closing.

Anixter auctioned its Fasteners segment in January. At least one analyst estimated the business would fetch as much as $500 million.

AIP has also offered to acquire the portion of the Fasteners business in France that has historically supported Fasteners’ global business.

Goldman, Sachs & Co. served as financial advisor.

Founded in 1989, AIP is a middle-market private equity firm that invests in North American-based industrial businesses serving domestic and global markets. To date, AIP has completed over 50 transactions and is currently managing more than $1.1 billion in equity capital.

Weeks after auctioning the Fasteners business, Anixter reported Fasteners segment sales declined 12.2% to $217.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014.

Q4 Fasteners segment sales in North America dropped 1.9% to $92.1 million on an organic basis during Q4.

In Europe, Fasteners sales fell 18.3% on an organic basis to $103.9 million in Q4. And Emerging Markets sales for Fasteners jumped 19.5% on an organic per day basis.

Full-year Fasteners segment sales edged up 0.3% to $938.5 million. Fasteners sales in North America gained 1.7% to $396.2 million. Segment sales in Europe fell 6.1% to $445 million, while Emerging Markets sales increased 28.5% to $92.6 million.

Fasteners segment operating margin in 2014 improved to 4.2% compared to 3.5% in 2013.

Source: Global Fastener News
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