|Aluma Systems, Ulma Construcción form strategic alliance
The strategic alliance of two giant players in formwork gives them
additional heft in the North American marketplace.
The recently announced partnership of Aluma Systems with
European-based Ulma brings together technology and marketing muscle
that vaults them into a secure number one position in the North
American market, says Ian Steer, district general manager for eastern
Canada with Aluma.
“We’re very excited by this,” says Steer. “And we’ve had a tremendous
reaction from our customers.”
The partnership will offer a bigger inventory, more locations and
yards for better service and a larger overall fleet of support
“We’re not sure what the numbers are, but we were close to number one
and this will make us certainly the biggest in North America,” says
He says the deal was two years in the making and started when
executives with Ulma revealed they were thinking about getting into
“There was a lot of back and forth,” says Steer noting discussions
moved from a distribution deal to a full-fledged alliance.
The downturn in Europe means that there are currently more
opportunities here in North America and that’s where the partnership
will concentrate first.
“The beauty of it is that these are two systems, one metric the other
imperial, but with the connectors we have we can combine the two so
the customers can have any configuration they want,” he says.
With more customers leaning towards European standards, it’s great
timing, he says, since the combined company can provide whatever the
Everything from bridgework to decking can be combined, he says,
regardless of whether it’s a Euro spec or North American and the
transitions are seamless.
Instead of wrestling with specs, he says, the two companies can now
concentrate on business.
Both are privately held. Aluma is a division of Brand Energy &
Infrastructure Services. Ulma is part of the MCC Group. Headquartered
in Toronto, Aluma is a global leader in concrete formwork, shoring and
industrial services operating in over 50 countries.
Ulma Construcción was founded in 1961 and is part of the MONDRAGON
Corporation, a worker-owned co-operative with an annual cash flow of
15 billion euros founded by a Catholic priest in a Basque town of the
same name after the Spanish Civil War.
It started in earnest in 1956 as a technical college and a small shop
making kerosene heaters and today employs some 93,000 people in 256
companies — all of whom are stakeholders with a single vote.
“They’re a really interesting group of people,” says Steer. “Their
driving force is how many jobs this deal would create.”