AGRU’s 2018 first quarter is off to a strong start. The company’s XXL Pipe Production Facility in South Carolina equipped to extrude the world’s largest high-density polyethylene pipe. The Los Angeles-based Foreign Trade Center of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber has recognized AGRU’s international business success with a top economic performance award. And, the company is marking its 70th anniversary.
ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE AWARD
Founded in Austria and present now throughout the world, roughly 95% of AGRU’s revenue is generated internationally. The company has a particularly strong presence in the United States, and recent investments in production innovations and market expansions have directly led to the company being honored by Austrian Federal Economic Chamber. The top economic performance award, given in the category of Investment, specifically pertains to operations in the United States.
AGRU has long been known for its top-tier geomembrane production, but it has also built a large portfolio of other synthetic and affiliated products: geonets, geocomposites, geotextiles, geosynthetic clay liners, concrete protective liners and fittings. The company’s USD $40 million investment in Charleston, South Carolina—the XXL Pipe Production Facility—is setting new global benchmarks for HDPE pipe diameter and length. At the harbor-side site, the company can extrude pipe straight into the waterway for ocean-going vessel towing. XXL pipe dimensions of OD 630 – 3,500 mm (24 – 138 inches) and in continuous solid wall lengths of 5 – 610 m (16 – 2,000 feet) are offered. These XXL pipe strings are designed to be installed near- or offshore, but can also be utilized for onshore installations of process pipes or transition pipelines.
“Winning [the economic performance] award is a great honor,” said Robert Johnson, CEO and president of AGRU America, Inc. “We are thrilled for the recognition and look forward to another successful year.”
AGRU 70TH ANNIVERSARY
Continuity in vision has certainly been one of the hallmarks of AGRU’s global growth. The new Charleston facility, for example, is said to have been the brainchild of Mag. Gruber Jr., the son of AGRU’s founder Alois Gruber Sr.
Gruber Sr., who passed away in 2014, has been described as a “tireless entrepreneur.” He turned his master locksmith background into a single-person company in 1948 in Austria and soon began seeking larger opportunities. The first major step was the 1954 acquisition of an anodizing system, which, as the company describes in a 70th anniversary synopsis, set the stage for the large, international company AGRU has become.
Quickly building his company with anodizing technology, Gruber Sr.’s next big step was to acquire plastic pipe extrusion machinery (1961). Five years later, he invested in injection molding machines for fittings, which made AGRU the first manufacturer in Europe to deliver pipes and fittings from a single manufacturing source.
Growth continued to accelerate with the company’s early adopter culture. It began to manufacture ultrapure water pipes in 1974 to support computer chip production. By the mid-1980s, AGRU was calendaring geomembranes for environmental protection applications.
Another generation of Grubers entered leadership and spurred the development of large diameter pipes, electrofusion fittings, high purity piping systems, and extra-wide geomembranes.
Today, AGRU has sales partners in more than 100 countries and an annual revenue north of USD $430 million.
Learn more about AGRU’s markets, products, and technological innovations at www.agruamerica.com.1