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BMHC posts $331.3 million loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC), the industry’s fourth largest pro dealer, reported a loss of $331.3 million for its fourth fiscal quarter, which ended on Dec. 31, 2007. This compares to net income of $4.5 million for the same quarter a year ago.

Sales for the San Francisco-based company were $419 million for the fourth quarter, a 30 percent decrease from $597 million in the corresponding period of 2006.

Net loss for the year was $312.7 million, compared to net income of $102.1 million for fiscal 2006. Annual sales declined 29 percent, from $3.2 billion in 2006 to $2.3 billion in 2007.

In a prepared statement, the company announced two “major programs” to consolidate and streamline its business. Both divisions of the company, BMC West and SelectBuild, “are under review, and specific market realignment plans are being prepared for execution in the coming weeks and months,” the statement said. “We are proceeding quickly to close unnecessary facilities and eliminate unneeded assets.”

BMHC stopped short of saying that SelectBuild, its construction services division, will be absorbed back into the company. But the announcement’s second realignment program made reference to “flattening SelectBuild’s management structure” and “accelerated centralization and integration of SelectBuild.”

Newly appointed president and COO Stanley Wilson, who served as president and CEO of BMC West, will now oversee both divisions.

Investors had been anxiously awaiting BMHC’s fourth-quarter results, which were released later than usual. The company did not schedule the customary conference call with analysts to discuss its earnings.

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Ace names CFO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ace Hardware Corp. has named Dorvin Lively, 49, as chief financial officer effective March 20.

Lively has had “extensive financial and accounting experience,” the company said in a statement, including his most recent post as executive vp and CFO for Maidenform Inc.

From 2000 to 2004, Lively served as senior vp and corporate controller for Toys R Us Inc. He has also held financial positions at Reader’s Digest, Silverado Foods, Pepsi Cola, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and Arthur Anderson.

“We look forward to the knowledge, experience and vision that he will bring to Ace in both the short- and long-term,” said Ray Griffith CEO of Ace Hardware.

Ace announced its search for a new CFO following the departure of Ron Knutson, former vp – finance for Ace, who resigned in December.

Most recently, Ace Hardware restated previously issued income and equity for fiscal years 2006, 2005 and 2004. The restatement was primarily the result of the discovery of a $152 million shortfall due to an inventory accounting error, which the company announced in September 2007.

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Armstrong Garden Centers buys Pike Nurseries locations

BY HBSDEALER Staff

An Atlanta bankruptcy court has ruled that Armstrong Garden Centers, the 34-unit chain of California nurseries, can purchase 15 locations of Pike Family Nurseries for $5.2 million. The March 2 decision, handed down in the Northern District of Georgia court, came after an auction where several bidders walked away with pieces of the 50-year-old company.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Pike Nurseries was the largest family owned garden center chain in the country. At one time, the company had 25 locations and annual revenues of $100 million. In 2004, second-generation owner Randy Pike sold a majority stake in the company to Roark Capital Group, a private equity firm, but stayed on as president and CEO.

Pike Nurseries, which also ran a wholesale growing operation, filed for bankruptcy last November, citing drought conditions as a contributing factor.

Headquartered in Glendora, Calif., Armstrong Garden Centers is the largest chain of independent nurseries, with two locations in Northern California and the remainder in the southern portion of the state. Company CEO Mike Kunce was in Atlanta and unavailable for comment, according to an Armstrong spokesperson.

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