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McWane Idles Birmingham Cast Iron Pipe Plant

May 2, 2010
Economy, housing slump forces temporary closing
Ductile iron pipe manufacturer McWane Inc. is idling its Birmingham, AL, plant temporarily, citing the continuing effects of the recession and declining housing market in particular. According to local reports, 117 workers have been affected. In a statement, McWane president Ruffner Pages explained: “As a result of the continuing slump in the nation’s economy and the housing sector in particular, demand for waterworks products has dropped by as much as 55%. Over the past year we adjusted to these market conditions by reducing production at all of our plants so that we could continue to operate them and keep our workforce employed. However, the persistence of the economic downturn has left us no choice but to temporarily reduce our production capacity until the market recovers.” Privately owned McWane includes the McWane Cast Iron Pipe Co. division, which includes Pacific States Cast Iron Pipe Co., Atlantic States Cast Iron Pipe Co., Clow Water Systems Co., and Canada Pipe Co. Ltd. Other divisions include the Waterworks Valves and Fire Hydrants division and the Soil Pipe, Soil Fittings, and Utility Fittings division. Reportedly, McWane intends to supply customers from its other plants, and from the Birmingham inventory. The Birmingham plant will be maintained in hopes of a restart once market conditions have improved.