Primrose Acquisition Changes The Channel
Customers of The Channel Corp., now known as Channel Alloys, will soon see some changes at the long-time master distributor of aluminum mill products, which was recently acquired by Primrose Alloys. What will not change is the company’s focus on selling only to distribution, says Chris Howard, president of Channel Alloys. “We will be able to do more, to go broader and deeper to help service centers in ways we have not done before. Service centers can focus on processing material, while we worry about holding stock.”
Along with the name change, Channel created a new website with full e-commerce capability at www.channelalloys.com. “With the launch of our new web-based ordering portal, we believe we will dramatically improve our operating efficiencies as part of our continuing efforts to provide the best customer service and delivery times in the industry,” Howard says.
As a global metals trader, Primrose has strong relationships with mills all around the world, but maintains little or no inventory. As a master distributor and dedicated mill depot, Channel has seven warehouses strategically located across the United States to inventory material close to its service center customers. “Primrose’s strength was access to a lot of different mills upstream, while our strength was the downstream presence in terms of distribution. It just made sense to pool our assets,” Howard says.
Channel Alloys is headquartered in Stamford, Conn., with stocking locations in Phillipsburg, N.J., Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and Seattle. A Denver depot was added after the merger. Channel Alloys’ products include cold-finished and extruded aluminum bars in all standard shapes; rolled sheet, plate and tread plate; and drawn seamless aluminum tubes in a wide range of sizes.
Channel Alloys will maintain strategic partnerships with its two key aluminum suppliers, Howard says: Eural Gnutti, Italian producer of drawn bars for the automotive industry, and KUMZ of Russia, an aircraft-certified plate and extrusion mill.
Primrose Alloys, a relatively new enterprise based in Burlingame, Calif., was founded in 2007 by Craig Yarde, Jr., and his partner Bob Wren as a metal trading company specializing in the import of stainless and carbon steels, aluminum and other alloys. Yarde formerly worked as director of purchasing for Yarde Metals in Southington, Conn., a service center company founded by his father in 1976. Shortly after Yarde Metals was acquired by Reliance Steel & Aluminum in August 2006, the younger Yarde decided to form his own company. He now also holds the title of Channel Alloys CEO.
With Primrose’s backing, Channel Alloys has access to more mills and additional capital, which will allow the distributor to expand the breadth and depth of its product lines and add inventory. The partnership with Primrose will also allow Channel Alloys to branch out beyond aluminum. “Primrose deals in stainless and carbon. Some of their products lend themselves to what we are doing, so we are going to add those that make sense, possibly by the end of the year,” Howard says.