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Overview

Standard Steel is one of the longest continuously operating forging operations in the United States. Founded in 1795 in Burnham, PA, Standard Steel is the only manufacturer of forged steel wheels and axles for freight railcars, locomotives and passenger railcars currently operating in North America. 

The Problem

Standard Steel was owned by a mini conglomerate in Pittsburgh called Allegheny International. The forged wheel manufacturer had grown quickly using leverage, a growth method by which a company uses another company’s assets to achieve its own growth goals. The strategy worked in the short-term, but it was not sustainable. Standard Steel’s owners filed for bankruptcy. 

The Solution

Standard Steel was the largest employer in the small town of Burnham, Pennsylvania, just north of Harrisburg. To prevent the company from shutting its doors permanently and putting thousands out of work, members of the Standard Steel management team approached Renaissance Partners for help. 
 
The Renaissance Partners team, a diverse mix of financial, operational and legal experts, saw Standard Steel as a business with potential. It was, at the time, one of only two forged wheel manufacturers in the country. Railroad regulations require forged wheels for certain railcars, like locomotives and cab cars, since the forging process results in a much stronger product than casting. 
 
The Renaissance Partners team bought the business out of bankruptcy court, helped senior managers pull capital together, and conducted negotiations with the labor steelworker's union. Our deep understanding of the railroad industry and its unique regulatory requirements led us to determine quickly that market demand was not Standard Steel’s issue. 
 
With the understanding that this business had an in-demand product, we looked to business operations to uncover other potential areas of improvement. Our team conducted a thorough assessment of Standard Steel’s business plan, operational efficacy, and market position, discovering several areas in need of repair. Ultimately, we delivered a business repositioning strategy that would allow Standard Steel to operate separately from Allegheny International and thrive as its own standalone business entity.

The Results

With Renaissance Partners’ help, Standard Steel bounced back from bankruptcy and became a thriving business providing steady work for thousands of central Pennsylvanians. It is now proudly the only remaining forged wheel manufacturer operating in the United States, serving major Class I railroads, freight railcar builders, locomotive maintenance shops, the Amtrak national railroad, and regional transit authorities across North America. 

In 2011, Standard Steel was acquired by Sumitomo Corporation for $200M — delivering a significant ROI on the initial investment.

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Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.

Typography is the art and technique

Typography is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable and appealing when displayed.