GARY | Northwest Indiana-based steel fabricator Refax Inc., has bought a Chicago company that will let it diversify its business beyond the local steel industry.
The company bought Imperial Steel Tank Co., which makes pressure vessels, storage tanks, reactors and other welded products. Refax, a family-owned business that has been in Gary for three decades, will take over that production.
"This acquisition allows us to provide additional capabilities to our existing customers, and in turn, further strengthens our business, allowing us to reach an added customer base," said company president Richard Oliver Sr. "This puts us in the right direction with our business plan for the next 30 years."
Refax, which was established in 1983, fabricates pipes, bridges and structures, and also repairs equipment. The company mainly serves Northwest Indiana's steel industry.
Imperial Steel Tank Co. serves customers nationally in a wide array of industries, said Kristin Mahle, an executive assistant at Refax.
"Tanks are used in any industry – food services, chemicals, petrochemicals," she said.
Storage tank production will be moved from Chicago to one of Refax's two facilities in Gary. New jobs eventually could be added in Gary, she said.
Refax potentially will need to add more office, engineering and manufacturing jobs in the future, Mahle said. The company is still in the beginning stages of figuring out how much it will grow.
"This is a very exciting time for our company," she said. "Like many businesses, we were struggling a little after 2008, but now we have an opportunity to grow. It's good for our company, and will mean good things for the city of Gary."
The purchase price was not disclosed.