Global Fastener News

1982 FIN – Bockhaus Bullish on Aerospace Fasteners

September 17
00:00 2010

By Dick Callahan

May 1, 1982 FIN – “I am possibly more bullish than most about he long-term outlook for the aerospace industry,” says a man who put his money where his mouth is, in the purchase of a manufacturer and distributor of aerospace fasteners.

Jim Bockhaus, formerly vice president of corporate planning for Dallas’s LTV Corp., and before that with General Electric, has bought ASC Industries, a distributor of a broad line of high-alloy aerospace fasteners; LFC Industries, a manufacturer of small precision aircraft fastener, and Tri-Con Industries, maker of structural aircraft parts and assemblies.

All three Dallas area companies were owned by Sam W. Lee, who will remain as a consultant.

“I think there will be quite a market in aerospace when the defense budget finally works its way through the system,” Bockhaus told FIN. “Commercial will come back eventually, but I am not nearly as optimistic about commercial coming back as I am about defense coming back – at least in the near term.”

Not as “delightful as I had hoped” over the first three months, the new business still feels good to him. “I will say this: I have found the industry a little less price disciplined than I had hoped. I now understand there has never been much price discipline in the industry. People think they can beat the volume and they can’t. It’s like Braniff running the Texas Twofer. The first thing that happened is that American and Delta met them. They all carried a lot of traffic and none of them made any money.”

Both LFC and AFC are in relatively new facilities. LFC’s plant was built in 1979. AFC has a 32,000 sq. ft. warehouse built in 1980 and a 14,000 sq. ft. office building completed in April 1981. Both are in Arlington, Texas, near the Dallas-Ft. Worth airport almost exactly halfway between the two cities.

The distribution business is far the bigger of the two fastener arms of ATEC (this set of initials refers to the holding company under which Backhaus owns the three companies Lee formerly owned under yet another set of initials, ASI). The total sales for the group of three was in excess of $30 million in 1981.

ASC, the distributor, is a fastener exporter, among other things. Some 25% of its business is done abroad. It handles lines of such U.S. manufacturers as SPS Technologies and Kaynar Manufacturing, and sells fasteners to European aircraft manufacturers through a network of representatives there. Some of LFC’s product is involved in overseas sales also.

The founder of the companies, Sam Lee, 62, did not want to be general manager, preferring to come in and work when he wants to. Primarily he has been negotiating with suppliers, work he likes.  ©1982/2010 Fastener Industry News

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