Black & Decker up in the fourth quarter
In the fourth quarter, Black & Decker announced a 95 percent jump in earnings to $187.4 million from $95.7 million in the same quarter last year. The higher earnings reflect a one-time tax settlement benefit of $153.4 million, the company said in a statement.
Earnings also were affected by a $31.7 million pre-tax charge for an environmental remediation matter and a $19 million pre-tax restructuring charge, the company noted.
Net sales in the fourth quarter were $1.65 billion, up 2.5 percent from $1.61 billion in the same quarter last year.
For all of 2007, the company still saw higher earnings in a difficult year for the industry, up 6.6 percent to $518.1 million from $486.1 million in 2006. Net sales were $6.7 billion, up 1.8 percent from $6.4 billion last year.
“Business conditions continued to deteriorate during the fourth quarter of 2007,” said Nolan Archibald, chairman and CEO of Black & Decker. “For the year, U.S. housing starts were down approximately 25 percent, and we encountered severe commodity cost pressure, both significantly worse than we expected early in 2007.”
He added that while demand in U.S. markets has been weak, the company has seen “outstanding” results in its international market.
NLBMDA calls for green lumber standard
The National Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association (NLBMDA) is seeking to simplify chain-of-custody issues for its members through a new grade stamp on eco-friendly lumber.
Through its affiliated group, the LBM Institute, association members have asked the American Lumber Standards Committee (ALSC) to adopt an eco-forest management standard, accredit agencies to certify the standard and establish a grade stamp similar to other designations for dryness, size and species.
The request was submitted to the ALSC on Jan. 4. A spokesperson for ALSC, an independent agency that oversees the accreditation of softwood and pressure-treated lumber, told Home Channel News that the proposal is under review and will be discussed at an upcoming meeting.
If adopted, the new grade would identify each piece of lumber that is milled from ecologically managed forests. Lumberyard dealers would no longer have to keep the lumber physically separate all the way to the job site; nor would they need to maintain proof of certification and other paper documentation to prove its eco-lineage. These practices, currently required by some green building designations, add costs to the building supply channel, particularly at the builder and retailer end, according to the proposal.
The LBM Institute is the research and education arm of the NLBMDA, a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization that represents more than 8,000 lumber and building material distributors across the country.
Northeastern lumber association focuses on ‘green’
The Northeastern Retail Lumber Association’s [NRLA] Lumber and Building Materials Expo 2008 brought vendors and retailers together at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston Jan. 23 to 25.
Energy-saving windows and doors took up a lot of real estate on the floor at a show that featured a wide variety of green products.
“Green’s something in the Northeast that is not going away,” said NRLA president Rita Ferris. Ferris said the NRLA is starting to focus some of its education programs on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) as well as other green educational initiatives.
“It’s something our members have been calling us and asking for more and more.” But green wasn’t the only topic on the show floor. The housing decline gave members and attendees alike plenty to talk about in an environment where new products and innovative ideas are on display.
The downturn also meant a smaller turnout for the show. “It’s not what we like to see, but I think it’s meeting people’s expectations,” said Ferris, who noted that there were more qualified buyers at this show than previous years.