CLAREMONT — Pooya Roohi, vice-president and general manager of Canam Bridges in Claremont, said he is very “excited” that the Claremont plant will return to Canam’s original owners, the Marcel Dutil family.
“This is basically the family who started the company,” Roohi told the Eagle Times on Tuesday. “They have always paid special attention to the company, and are committed to seeing the company grow and improve in quality.”
Canam Group announced on Monday in a press release that a Québec investment team comprised of Dutil family, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec (CDPQ) and the Fonds de solidarité FTQ signed a definitive agreement with American Industrial Partners (AIP) equity firm to acquire all of Canam Group’s Canadian operation, along with certain assets overseas and in the United States. Two of Canam’s 16 U.S.-based factories — Canam Bridges and a factory in South Plainfield, New Jersey — were included in the transaction.
The C$840 million agreement will give the Québec investors ownership of Canam’s Canadian operations, which include three manufacturing plants in Québec province, one plant in Calgary, one plant in Ontario and two bridge factories in Québec City. The Québec investors will also acquire overseas engineering and drafting offices in Brasov, Romania and Kolkata, India.
The acquisition is a positive sign for the Claremont factory, according to Roohi.
“If anything, we’re excited that there is an opportunity for our personnel to grow,” he said.
Canam is the largest bridge and structural steel manufacturer in North America, with over 25 factories in Canada and the U.S.
Roohi said that Canam Bridge is mostly finished with its manufacturing role in the $4.9 billion Tappan Zee bridge replacement project in New York, but the plant still has many active projects in the New York City region, including four connecting bridges to La Guardia Airport, several railroad bridges in Long Island, New York and a bridge project on the Pulaski Highway in New Jersey.
The Claremont plant, located at 387 River Rd., employees about 120 people. Formerly owned by Eastern Bridge, Canam Group purchased the factory in 2007, with intent to increase Canam’s involvement in U.S. bridge projects.
The Marcel Dutil family, who founded Canam in 1951, has retained at least partial ownership of the company throughout Canam’s 60-year history. In 2017, AIP acquired 60% of the company, while the Marcel Dutil family retained 40%, according to Roohi.
“In short, the family started Canam as a private company, then it went public,” he explained. “Now it’s going back to being privately owned.”
The remaining 16 factories in the U.S., which are operations of subsidiaries Canam Steel Corp. and FabSouth, are not part of the deal and will remain jointly owned by AIP and the Québec investors, according to Canam Group’s press release.
The transaction is expected to close in the coming weeks and will total more than $644 million.