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Tempel Steel CEO says company staying in Chicago despite sale

A year ago, the company put its North Side property on the market, but now the plan is to expand it, said the CEO, Cliff Nastas.

Tempel Steel’s operation at 5500 N. Wolcott Ave.
Tempel Steel’s operation at 5500 N. Wolcott Ave.
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Seventy-six-year-old Tempel Steel will continue operating on Chicago’s North Side despite its sale to an out-of-state buyer, the company’s CEO said Monday.

Worthington Industries, based in Columbus, Ohio, is buying Tempel for $255 million. Tempel is based at 5500 N. Wolcott Ave., which also is one of its prime manufacturing sites. Last year, the company listed the 21-acre site for sale.

But Tempel took the property off the market after considering moving costs and business disruptions, said its CEO, Cliff Nastas. He said he expects the operation, which employs 300 people, will expand because business is growing.

“We’re hiring right now,” Nastas said. Worthington, a diverse steel processor, said it was drawn to Tempel because of its specialty in parts for electric vehicles, a growing market.

“As EVs are embraced globally and the electricity infrastructure is upgraded and expanded to accommodate the shift to electric motors, we’re excited about what our organizations can do together on a global scale,” said Worthington’s CEO, Andy Rose.

Nastas said he and other managers will remain with Tempel, which will operate as an independent division of Worthington. The sale is expected to close in December.

Worthington’s shares are publicly traded, with a price at the close of Monday’s trading of $55.30. The company said it employs 8,000 people with products that serve a variety of industries, as well as consumer brands such as Coleman camping equipment.

Tempel also has operations in Canada, China, India and Mexico and has about 1,500 workers worldwide.

In announcing the acquisition, Worthington said Tempel had revenue of $377 million for the 12 months ending Sept. 30. Worthington said it will discuss more details of the acquisition in a presentation to analysts Nov. 10.

The Tempel property in Chicago is just south of Rosehill Cemetery in a neighborhood known as Bowmanville. When the company listed the site for sale, it prompted speculation that the unusually large land site could become a housing development.