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Cox Industries, the Orangeburg maker of treated wood products, announced Monday it is selling its residential lumber division assets.

Cox is selling the division to Virginia-based Culpeper Wood Preservers, a wood treater with a similar focus on residential lumber.

Included in the sale are Cox manufacturing plants located in Orangeburg and Branchville, as well as plants in Coleridge and Cove City, North Carolina.

The transition of the Cox residential business to Culpeper is expected to be complete by the end of the year.

"Culpeper will continue to manufacture residential products at both the Orangeburg and Branchville plants and the same Cox employees will continue to be responsible for their manufacture," Cox Industries Vice President of Marketing Keith Harris said.

"The sign will change, but the plants will continue to manufacture as they do today for products under the Cox and Culpeper brands,” Harris said.

The Orangeburg and Branchville plants employ 125. No employees are expected to lose their jobs as the plants change ownership.

"Whether it be a plant employee or sales personnel, Culpeper and Cox want this to be a seamless transition for current Cox employees as well as Cox residential customers," Harris said.

Both the Orangeburg and Branchville facilities make residential products such as decking, exterior trim and laminated box columns.

Cox CEO Mikee Johnson foresees opportunities for the employees.

"The residential division of Cox represents a significant part of our company’s legacy, so it was extremely important that any transaction we entered into was done with a company that shares the same foundational values as us," he said.

Johnson says the change will help create an “industry powerhouse,” with manufacturing facilities and customers that stretch throughout the Eastern and Midwestern states.

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"Both companies have seen growth in their business due largely to a resurgence in the home-building industry," Harris said. "The combination of Culpeper and Cox treating companies is driven by new opportunities for the combined entity due to increased scale, not market decline."

Cox will retain its corporate headquarters in Orangeburg to oversee its industrial division. The industrial division predominately manufactures and sells utility poles and marine pilings.

Harris said, “this sale will allow Cox the opportunity to focus their resources on the utility pole and marine piling markets where they are a national leader."

Cox currently has industrial plants in North and in Eutawville. The company has a total of ten industrial plants nationally.

The transaction doesn’t affect the company's industrial plants, Harris said.

The company will use proceeds from the sale of its residential division to grow and diversify its industrial division.

“Within only a few years, our industrial division has grown to become one of the largest providers of utility poles in the United States, with a customer base that now extends from coast to coast," Johnson said.

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Contact the writer: or 803-533-5551. Check out Zaleski on Twitter at @ZaleskiTD.


Staff Writer

Gene Zaleski is a reporter/staff writer with The Times and Democrat.

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