September 18, 1997 in Nation/World

Cpm Development Corp. Sold Irish Company Acquires Local Firm In Deal Worth $94 Million

By The Spokesman-Review
 

CPM Development Corp., the holding company for Central Pre-Mix Concrete Co. and Inland Asphalt Co., has been sold for $94 million to an international building materials company based in Dublin, Ireland.

The transaction was announced by CRH plc Wednesday after stock markets closed. CRH trades on the London and NASDAQ exchanges.

The deal closed Friday. The Federal Trade Commission had previously reviewed the transaction for potential antitrust problems.

Central President Dan Murphy said there will be no changes at the company as a result of the sale. All employees will be retained, and 10 of its executives have been given five-year contracts, he said.

CPM and its subsidiaries employ between 800 and 900. Besides Central Pre-Mix Concrete and Inland, the other subsidiaries are Interstate Concrete and Asphalt in Coeur d’Alene, Central Pre-Mix Prestress Co. in Spokane, and Central Pre-Mix Concrete Products Co. in Spokane and Seattle.

The company earned $14.1 million last year on sales of $131 million.

CRH employs 19,000 worldwide. In 1996, sales exceeded $4 billion, of which about half came from the holding company for its U.S. operations - Oldcastle Inc.

Oldcastle President Liam O’Mahony said in a release that the company looks for well-managed, successful operations open to a friendly acquisition.

“The key to our success with an acquired business lies in the willingness of owners and established management to join us as partners.”

A CRH release noted that the company has purchased several building materials businesses in the last few years in an effort to establish a foothold in the Western U.S.

With the acquisition of CPM, those operations will contribute about one-third of the $1 billion in revenues Oldcastle Materials Group should earn annually.

CPM’s Murphy said Oldcastle is the second-largest asphalt company in the U.S., and also has a significant roofing materials business.

Oldcastle hopes to use CPM as a growth platform in the Northwest, he said.

Murphy said Atlanta-based Oldcastle and CRH approached CPM management in April. At the time, he said, “the company was not for sale.”

But as CPM owners learned more about Oldcastle’s hands-off style of oversight, he said, they came to believe a sale would expand opportunities for employees and management alike.

Also, there are 17 fourth-generation Murphys beginning to look for positions in the company, he said. Succession promised to be problematic.

Central was founded in 1930 by William M. Murphy. The first site on North Division, now occupied in part by Holiday Inn Express, allowed workers to load the batch plant by rolling rail cars and, later, trucks up the hill and dumping their loads.

His office, Murphy said, was about where the middle of Division is now.

That site was closed in 1980. The company now operates from two locations, one on Sullivan Street in the Spokane Valley, the other near Fort Wright on the West Side of Spokane.

Murphy said the family retained ownership of the 135-acre Fort Wright site, selling only the operating equipment to CRH. The family plans to redevelop the area for residential, commercial and retail use.

He said the decision to sell the company after 67 years was a difficult one. “There’s a lot of regret and mixed feelings,” he said.

But he added that the company’s 35 shareholders were unanimous in their belief the sale was best for the company and its employees.

“It was time for a change,” Murphy said.

, DataTimes


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