Pending deal snaps together two scaffolding companies. (Photo Courtesy of Aluma Systems)

Two of North America’s largest suppliers of engineered scaffolding are set to merge this year, a move that would occur during a time of strong demand for such specialty equipment.

Brand Services Inc.,St. Louis, has signed an agreement to purchase Aluma Enterprises Inc. of Toronto. The deal was announced on May 23. Terms were not disclosed.

Brand Services, a 5,500-employee rental firm owned by New York-based JPMorgan Partners, reports having an annual revenue of $347 million last year. Aluma Systems, a $219-million-a-year operating unit of Aluma Enterprises Inc., would keep its name as the company’s representative in Canada but not in the U.S., according to Paul T. Wood, president and CEO of Brand.

"We’re still working through the details, but it will be one company," Wood told ENR. Aluma’s line of engineered formwork and shoring equipment also would stay under its own name, he adds. The sale is expected to close within 90 days.

Both companies would gain market share and financial strength from the deal. Aluma, which claims to have an 80% share of the industrial-rental scaffolding market in Alberta oil sands refineries, has recently turned down projects because of limited capital.

"We have more opportunities than we have resources, and this will start to balance the landscape," says Jim Demitrieus, CEO of Aluma Enterprises, who plans to leave the company following the merger.

Likewise, Brand Services would take advantage of Aluma’s line of concrete formwork and shoring equipment in international markets, seek out more petrochemical work and benefit from economies of scale, Wood says. He joined Brand on Jan. 1 and was formerly a general manager of a General Electric Co. utility installation and field services unit.

Apparently, both companies had discussed the deal for years. "We were and continue to be interested in acquiring complementary companies," says Wood.