Champions Pipe & Supply, Mitsui Tubular Products to Merge

Champions Pipe & Supply, Inc. (Champions) and Mitsui Tubular Products, LLC. (MTP) announced that they will merge, effective April 1, 2008. The combined company will be known as Champions Pipe & Supply, Inc.

Champions, founded in 1985, is one of the major OCTG distributors in the U.S. market with access to domestic mills. MTP, established in 1983, is a distributor of 13 Chromium OCTG, drill pipe, line pipe, specialty tube, and plate, with access to mills in international markets, including Japan.

This merger will enable Champions to provide one-stop shopping services as a full-line tubular products distributor for the Oil & Gas Industry. The new combined company will generate approximately $600 million in annual sales, and will be staffed by 40 employees.

"Over more than twenty years of operations, Champions and MTP have individually established a strong presence in the pipe industry," said Ken DeLuish, President of MTP, who will become the President of Champions. "However, to meet our customers' ever-increasing demands, we decided to merge the two companies and give customers the opportunity to find everything they need by contacting one company. Champions' access to domestic mills and MTP's access to Japanese and other mills outside the U.S. will enable the new Champions to provide such services."

Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. (Mitsui USA) is the majority shareholder of Champions and the sole parent of MTP. Immediately prior to the merger becoming effective, Mitsui USA will purchase the minority shares and become the sole parent of Champions.

This decision reflects Mitsui USA's commitment to the energy-related steel industry.

"With this merger, the new Champions will have access to Mitsui USA and its parent company, Mitsui & Co., Ltd., both of which hold extensive assets globally," Mr. DeLuish added. "In addition to building on the strength of our U.S. business, we intend to grow the company by focusing on increasing our export business. We also intend to pursue opportunities to expand our business and product lines."