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Bankruptcy judge gives green light to Kara Homes reorganization

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New Jersey home builder Kara Homes has been given the green light to exit Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, following a judge’s decision in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Trenton, N.J.

The home builder will be managed by Connecticut-based hedge fund Plainfield Specialty Holdings, New Jersey developer Glen Fishman and a buyout firm based in San Diego, Del Mar Capital.

The East Brunswick, N.J., home builder filed for Chapter 11 protection in U.S. Bankruptcy court last October.

At that time, the company said it owed about $297 million to woodworking, concrete, lumber, electrical and plumbing dealers, while holding assets of only $350 million. Those assets primarily included unsold homes and land.

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Do it Best’s 2007 sales down, profitability up

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Fort Wayne, Ind.-based Do it Best reported annual sales of $2.81 billion for its 2007 fiscal year that ended June 30, down about 7 percent from $3.01 billion in the previous year. Much of that decrease was driven by the deflation of lumber and panel pricing, which were off more than 25 percent and 60 percent, respectively, the company reported.

At the same time, unit volume sales were up about one percentage point, and there was a 3.4 percent increase in overall profitability, driven by a 4.4 percent increase in sales through distribution.

“I think we were exceptionally pleased with the bottom line performance last year,” president and CEO Bob Taylor told HCN in an interview. “When you can turn in record profitability and have that be up close to 3.5 percent, and have hardlines sales through distribution be up as well almost 4.5 percent, that’s pretty strong.”

Operating overhead for the company was 2 percent, the lowest in the industry, the company said. Further, in each of the past 24 years, Do it Best rebates on regular warehouse purchases to its members have exceeded 12 percent. The fiscal year 2007 rebate, which will be returned to members at the 2007 Do it Best October Market in Indianapolis, represents an average 13.13 percent of regular warehouse purchases.

“By providing our member-owners with innovative programs to increase their performance at retail, and by continuing our relentless focus on improving operational efficiency, we have been able to return a consistently high year-end rebate to help our members reinvest in and grow their independent businesses,” Taylor said.

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Weyerhaeuser wins cost dispute over mill

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Weyerhaeuser has won a dispute over a wood pulp and paper facility, which the forest products giant purchased from Canadian wood products company Bowater in 1998.

Bowater was ordered to pay Weyerhaeuser $42 million in the dispute. The two companies had argued over environmental cleanup issues at the site.

“Although we disagree with the arbitrators’ decision and are disappointed with this result, this matter is now behind us,” said David Paterson, Bowater chairman and CEO.

Bowater will take a charge of about $27.7 million in the third quarter as a result of the claim, according to the company.

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