Poole & Kent Group sold to rival Emcor

Baltimore contractor to retain operations

April 08, 1999|By Ted Shelsby | Ted Shelsby,SUN STAFF

Poole & Kent Group of Baltimore, which identifies itself as the largest privately owned mechanical contracting company in the country, said yesterday that it had agreed to be acquired by a Norwalk, Conn., competitor.

The buyer is Emcor Group, North America's largest specialty-construction company. The purchase price was not disclosed.

Founded in 1947 by Robert Poole and Robert Kent, P&K, as the company is commonly called, grew from a tiny operation to annual sales of about $400 million and 2,000 workers.

More than half of its employees, 1,200, are based in Baltimore. The company also has offices in Miami, Tampa, Fla., and Waterbury, Conn.

"We're the big flush people," said W. David Stoffregen, P&K's president, in reference to the company's contract to install the plumbing at the Ravens stadium and the test last summer of the equipment.

On cue, hundreds of volunteers simultaneously flushed more than 1,000 toilets and urinals to make sure the plumbing system worked.

Stoffregen said the company also did the plumbing, heating and air-conditioning work on a number of Baltimore office buildings, including the IBM Tower, Signet Tower and the Sheraton Hotel. It did the same work on Harborplace.

He said the company has 600 people working at Bethlehem Steel Corp.'s expansion of its Sparrows Point steel mill.

It is working also on a $100 million contract to expand the Upper Occoquan Waste Water Treatment Plant in Centreville, Va.

Stoffregen said the acquisition will have no impact on P&K's Baltimore operations, which he will continue to oversee. It will retain the Poole & Kent name.

"Everything will remain the same," he said. "It's business as usual. Nobody has to be concerned about a reduction in the current work force."

The deal will extend Emcor's East Coast operations from Maine to Florida.

"P&K has a long tradition of excellence in our industry and will be an excellent fit for the company," Frank T. MacInnis, chairman and chief executive of Emcor, said in a statement.

He said the transaction would allow Emcor to more effectively pursue business opportunities in one of the fastest-growing engineering and construction markets in the country.

Bloomberg News Service contributed to this article.

Pub Date: 4/08/99

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