Home Venture Capital Venture capital group acquires SC-based Metal Trades firm | Business

Venture capital group acquires SC-based Metal Trades firm | Business


Longtime family-owned metal fabricator Metal Trades in Yonges Island has been acquired by a private equity firm to become part of defense contractor Keel Holdings.

Arlington Capital Partners said Metal Trades will join another Charleston-area acquisition, Pegasus Steel, and Michigan-based Merrill Technologies Group in the Keel Holdings family that will build large parts for the next-generation U.S. Navy submarines and aircraft carriers.

It’s something Metal Trades has already been doing at its site along the Wadmalaw River. The company announced a $14.4 million expansion in late 2022 to build parts for the Navy, adding 64 people to its workforce for the project. Metal Trades also has a longstanding relationship with Pegasus and the companies recently completed 80,000 square feet of manufacturing space at the 4194 S.C. Highway 165 campus.

“This family business has been built over generations and we are pleased that it will continue to provide employment while serving an important role strengthening our national security,” Metal Trades owner Rusty Corbin said in a statement.

Keel will also provide services to the Air Force, Army and commercial customers.

“Keel will play a pivotal role in delivering significant capability growth to the U.S. defense industrial base,” CEO Brian Carter said in a written statement. “Our efficient and effective approach positions us to increase the speed of delivery and production for the country’s highest priority defense programs.”

Financial terms of the Metal Trades deal were not announced. It follows Arlington’s acquisition in June of the Pegasus Steel firm that makes complex steel structures in Goose Creek, Ladson and Hollywood.

Ben Ramundo, a principal at Arlington, said in a statement that Keel “is supporting the steep production ramp of the Columbia and Virginia class submarine programs by positioning itself to deliver turnkey structures and modules to its customers, empowering them to use valuable shipyard space more effectively.”

In addition to its work for the defense sector, Metal Trade’s services includes processing, fabrication, welding, piping, machining, electrical installation, blasting and painting. It also builds and repairs barges and other working vessels. The company was established in 1962 by the late J.E. Corbin Jr., known to most people as Ted Corbin. The company’s website states Corbin founded Metal Trades “with a pickup truck, a welding machine and years of metal fabricating experience.”

Rusty Corbin could not be reached for comment.

The Metal Trades acquisition adds to Arlington’s aerospace and defense holdings — one of four sectors that comprise the firm’s $7 billion in assets under management. The buyout firm, which was formed in 1999, also focuses on government services and technology, health care and business services and software.

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