We received a press release from Follansbee Steel last week that explained how they are in negotiations with one or more buyers who would potentially come in and keep the operation going.
Operations, at least keeping the doors open to ship existing inventory, will continue per a statement from Mark D. Robinson, executive vice president & general manager for Lewis Berkman, LLC WV, operator of Follansbee Steel.
I am not an expert on the buying and selling of steel companies, but it surprised me a bit when the initial announcement came out stating simply that Follansbee was ceasing operation and closing shop. You had to wonder why they did not sell this seemingly valuable enterprise. But here may be the lesson: Just because you have a product that has been in the market for years, filling a unique niche, it does not guaranty business success.
The Follansbee product line is revered by many designers, historical societies, and historical renovation specialty contractors. There will doubtless never be a tremendous volume of sales of a product like this that is not only very unique, but pricey. The reason I was so upset on hearing they were shutting down is that this is one metal roofing product that is truly one of a kind.
So stand by. It appears that in some smoke-filled, poorly lit room somewhere, the details of the sale of Follansbee Steel are being hammered out. I hope so.