84 Lumber arranges new financing
Pro dealer 84 Lumber has entered into two new five-year financing packages totaling $590 million, putting the company in a better position to work through the current U.S. housing downturn, according to an announcement. The loan arrangements were made through Sun Trust Bank and Wachovia Bank.
“This deal allows us to move forward with our business plan without earnings covenants,” said Maggie Hardy Magerko, company president and owner. “Our plan is to emerge from the housing slump debt free by eliminating unprofitable stores, reducing slow-moving inventory, increasing vendor terms, reducing overhead and improving our accounts receivable aging while focusing on increasing market share in our core markets nationwide.”
Hardy Magerko emphasized that the company would focus on eliminating unprofitable stores as a way of reducing debt. Since January, 84 Lumber has shut down 52 stores. Many of these locations were consolidated into nearby larger operations, which offer additional services, she noted. Others involved exiting a market altogether.
The company owns 85 percent of its operating locations, with a value of approximately $650 million. Additionally, the company owns inventory and receivables of approximately $500 million, according to a prepared statement. The company also noted that its sales only decreased 20 percent in 2007, while single-family housing starts declined 27 percent.
Weyerhaeuser names new CEO
Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser has named Daniel Fulton president and CEO, effective immediately.
Fulton assumes the role of CEO, replacing Steven Rogel, who will remain as chairman of the company’s board of director’s in a non-executive role. Fulton has served as company president since Jan. 1.
“As we chart our course forward at this important juncture in the company’s history, it is critical for us to have Steve guiding the continuing implementation of our long-term strategy,” said Charles Williamson, lead director on the Weyerhaeuser board.
Prior to his role as president, Fulton served as president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Real Estate since 2001. Fulton previously was president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Realty Investors, a subsidiary of the company, from 1998 to 2000; its chief operating officer from 1996 to 1997; and its chief investment officer from 1994 to 1995. He joined Weyerhaeuser in 1975 and has held various management and investment positions with the company and its subsidiaries.
In related news, the forest products company announced Mark Emmert would join the company’s board of directors. Emmert is the president of the University of Washington and the former chancellor of Louisiana State University. He also served as chancellor of the University of Connecticut and held administrative and academic positions at the University of Colorado and Montana State University.
The company has also recently named Kevin Shearer vp-information technology and chief information officer, effective May 1.
Shearer joined the company in 1980, holding numerous positions in timberlands, corporate support and wood products. Shearer held leadership positions in information technology during the company’s acquisitions of several companies, including Cavenham, MacMillan Bloedel, Willamette and Trus-Joist. Since 2007, Shearer has served as vp-business operations. He will succeed Susan Mersereau who is retiring.
Weyerhaeuser is one of the world’s largest forest products companies with 2007 sales of $16.3 billion.
HD Supply launches proprietary brands
HD Supply has launched two new proprietary brands covering kitchen and bath fixtures, ceiling fans, heavy duty tools and hardware.
The “Seasons” brand will be carried on products including kitchen and bath fixtures and ceiling fans, with consumers as the intended end user. According to the pro dealer, the Seasons products will be positioned in the “better” quality tier, with a “best” quality brand under the Seasons Gold name.
Tools and hardware under the Brigade line will be primarily for contractors and professionals and sold through HD Supply’s White Cap and facilities and maintenance divisions.
“The launch of these new proprietary brands is a cornerstone to HD Supply’s long-term growth and value creation story,” said Arleen Quinones, HD Supply’s vp-marketing and communications, in a statement, adding the products fill a “product assortment gap” and help expand the pro dealer’s product selection.
The Atlanta-based company provides professional items to a variety of pro markets, through approximately 1,000 locations in North America.