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The Lectrus Corp. plant is on Polymer Drive near the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.

Companies at a glance

Lectrus Corp.
› History: Started in 1968 by Jim Steffner and incorporated as Metal Systems Inc. in 1993; In 2004 Metal Systems bought Cleveland Manufacturing in Houston and changed the name to Lectrus Corp. in 2009.
› Owner: RFE Investment Partners acquired Metal Systems Inc. in 2007
› Location: A 585,000 square-foot site on Polymer Drive near the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport. A Houston plant was shut down in December, 2017 when Lectrus filed for bankruptcy reorganizations under Chapter 11 protection.
› Products: Custom metal enclosures and prefabricated electrical substations for the oil and gas, power generation, transmission and distribution, petrochemical, and alternative energy markets
› Staff: More than 100 employees in Chattanooga

AZZ Inc.
› Started: Began in the 1956 designing and distribution metal to oil fields and became a publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange in 1997.
› Financials: AZZ reported net income of $60.9 million on revenues of $858.9 million in fiscal 2017.
› Headquarters: Fort Worth, Tex.
› Products: Metal coatings services, welding solutions, specialty electrical equipment and highly engineered services to the power generation, transmission, distribution and industrial markets.
› Staff: Nearly 4,200 employees at 41 galvanizing plants in 19 U.S. states and in other locations in Canada.

One of the nation's biggest metal galvanizing and fabrication manufacturers is buying Lectrus Corp. in Chattanooga only three months after the 50-year-old Lectrus filed for bankruptcy under a Chapter 11 petition last December.

AZZ Inc., a Fort Worth, Texas-based metals manufacturer, won the bidding to acquire the assets of Lectrus and its 100-employee plant on Polymer Drive in Chattanooga.

Lectrus shut down its other major plant in Houston in December when the Chattanooga-based company filed for bankruptcy after orders fell in the oil and gas industry for its products. Lectrus, which is owned by the Connecticut-based private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has continued operations since the bankruptcy filing and AZZ said it is eager to improve the business and its financial status in the consolidating industry.

"The Chattanooga facility will expand our market presence and advance our goal of strengthening our market position in providing custom metal enclosures and related electrical integration to utility, industrial and OEM (original equipment manufacturers) customers," Ken Lavelle, president of AZZ's electrical segment, said in a statement. "The opportunity to purchase certain strategic assets from Lectrus through a 363 bankruptcy sale process is a result of the consolidation that is occurring within the metal enclosure industry in the U.S., which is particularly challenging for smaller, less well-capitalized operators."

The purchase is expected to close by March 31 and Lectrus will then operate as AZZ Enclosure Systems – Chattanooga LLC, a Delaware limited liability company, and will complement AZZ's current metal enclosure and switchgear locations in Kansas, Maryland, and Missouri.

The Chattanooga facility is located on a 585,000 square-foot site. The operations include a 210,000 square- foot manufacturing facility, as well as office and other facilities for engineers, estimators, project management, fabrication, integration and sales personnel.

Lavelle said he expected the purchase will add to AZZ earnings this year, assuming the deal is approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or at 757-6340.

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The Lectrus Corp. plant is on Polymer Drive near the Chattanooga Metropolitan Airport.
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