Current Issue

2022 MCN Top 50 Service Centers

By on
MCN Editor Dan Markham Historic pricing and strong demand led to across the board sales records in the 20th year of MCN’s survey of North America’s largest service centers.

Click here to download the 2022 Top 50 Service centers.

Virtually every record imaginable was set in the 20th year of Metal Center News’ annual listing of the Top 50 largest service center companies in North America. The phenomenal pricing environment and explosive demand coming out of the brief COVID recession resulted in the greatest year-over-year revenue jump since MCN began tracking this data in 2002. 

Each year, Metal Center News compiles sales figures for most of North America’s largest service center companies, publishing its results in the MCN Top 50, now in its 20th year. This authoritative look at the largest service center companies provides a strong indication of the year that was in terms of revenue, employment levels and stocking locations. 

The Top 50 companies in this year’s survey reported net sales of $77.4 billion, a new highwater mark and $16.3 billion higher than the previous record set in 2018. Sales jumped a staggering 69.7 percent from 2020. 

Not surprisingly, every single respondent to the surveys in both 2021 and this year reported higher sales figures in the more recent compilation. 

Sales figures from 2021 are used to determine the Top 50, which is topped by Reliance Steel & Aluminum for the 15th consecutive year. Reliance reported $14.1 billion in sales last year, a new high for the annual leader. In 2020, Reliance reported net sales of just $8.81 billion.

In the pandemic-wracked 2020, sales for the Top 50 companies in the survey fell to $45.6 billion, the lowest total since the recessionary days of 2009. But the quick exit from the economic standstill of second-quarter 2020, coupled with a skyrocketing pricing environment, created conditions ripe for a record-setting year for North America’s metals distribution community. 

Following No. 1 Reliance in the annual listing was traditional runner-up Ryerson, Chicago, which enjoyed sales of $5.7 billion in 2021. Kloeckner Metals Corp., Roswell, Ga., moved up one spot to third with $4.3 billion in sales. Russel Metals, Mississauga, Ontario, which ranked sixth last year, was fourth at $3.4 billion and Georgetown, Ky.-based Toyota Tsusho America held the No. 5 spot at $3.16 billion. 

Rounding out the Top 10 were thyssenkrupp Materials North America, Southfield, Mich., at $3.14 billion; Alro Steel, Jackson, Mich., at $3.1 billion; Steel Technologies, Louisville, Ky., at $2.96 billion; Columbus, Ohio-based Worthington Industries at $2.9 billion; and O’Neal Industries, Birmingham, Ala., at $2.8 billion. 

Perhaps most remarkably is the number of companies that reported sales of a billion dollars or more in 2021. The billion-dollar club represented almost half the Top 50, with 23 companies reaching 10 figures in sales in 2021. First-time entries included SPS Companies, Manhattan, Kan.; NIM Group, Norfolk, Neb.; Triad Metals Corp., Pittsburgh,; Steel Summit Holdings, Murfreesboro, Tenn.; Heidtman Steel, Toledo, Ohio; and Majestic Steel, Cleveland.

Naturally, the bottom also rose. No. 50 in this year’s countdown was Horizon Steel at $140 million in sales, a new high for the lowest member of the Top 50. 

The biggest gainer in terms of position this year was Target Steel, which moved up from the 38th spot to No. 30, with 2022 revenues of $633 million. Conversely, A.M. Castle and Co., dropped seven spots to 36th despite an $80 million increase in revenues. 
 
The sales records for this year might not last that long, if the Top 50 companies’ projections for 2022 revenue hold firm. Of the 33 companies that were willing to offer sales projections for this calendar year, only four anticipated a decline in revenues in the next survey – Kenwal Steel, McNeilus Steel, Ratner Steel and Target Steel. Two others expect flat revenues, while the remaining companies anticipate increases. 

The largest jump is forecast by Wieland Metal Services. The red metals specialist, which had $653 million this year, projects revenues of $905 million next year, undoubtedly driven by some of the company’s acquisition activity. 

Altogether, the 33 companies who shared projections for 2022 reported 2021 sales of $30 billion. If their projections for $34.8 billion in sales for this calendar year held firm and reflected the entire Top 50,  it would represent another 15.9 percent gain in sales in next year’s listing. 

For the first time in three years, the listing suffered one acquisition-based casualty. Klein Steel, which was 47th in last year’s listing with 2020 revenues of $92 million, was a non-respondent this year following its acquisition by Top 10 service center company Alro Steel.

A newcomer to the countdown is Houston-based American Alloy Steel, which came in at No. 43 with $245 million in sales in 2021. List fixture Samuel, Son & Company returned to the survey at No. 11 after a year as a non-respondent. The Ontario-based company’s absence contributed to the decline in sales reported in last 
year’s listing. 

Despite the well-documented struggles on the HR front, the strong year in 2021 did correspond to greater employment numbers in the service center space. The Top 50 employed 64,866 people last year, a 21 percent increase from the COVID-hampered prior year. The return of Samuel to the Top 50 contributed somewhat to that increase.

Stocking locations operated by the Top 50 also climbed in 2021, growing from 1,160 in 2020 to 1,323 last year. 

Methodology:
To rank the Top 50, Metal Center News conducted an email survey in July and August of the magazine’s largest subscribers. When available, secondary sources were used to confirm information. In most cases, figures from privately held companies are presented without independent verification. Companies are ranked based on total revenues from sales, processing and distribution during their last completed fiscal year, which for most was calendar year 2021.

Caption: 
Reliance Steel & Aluminum has been the leader in the MCN Top 50 for the past 15 years. (Photo courtesy Reliance Steel & Aluminum).