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Board member resigns at KB Home

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Ray Irani, president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum, has resigned from the board of directors of Los Angles-based KB Home.

The company did not give a reason for Irani’s departure. CEO Jeffrey Mezger thanked him for his service on the board.

“I leave the KB Home board confident that the company is well positioned, both strategically and financially, to emerge strongly from the current housing market slowdown,” Irani said in a statement. “I have enormous respect for KB Home’s leadership team and look forward to continuing to follow the company in the years ahead.”

KB Home is one of the country’s largest home builders with operations in 14 states.

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True Value revenue down 3.9 percent

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Chicago-based True Value reported sales of $478.5 million for the third quarter, down 3.9 percent from $497.9 million for the same period in 2006.

The co-op reported a net margin of $12 million, down 34.4 percent from $18.3 million a year ago. Net margin is a measurement of net earnings specific to the co-op model.

The prior year’s net margin included a $6.3 million one-time gain due to a legal matter. Excluding last year’s nonrecurring gain, year-to-date net margin was down 2.5 percent.

The company saw a 1.6 percent growth in warehouse shipments to True Value retailers. The company blamed sales declines in part on the timing of its annual fall market, held Oct. 30 within the fourth fiscal quarter. Revenue and profit from market activities benefited the third quarter in 2006 but will benefit the fourth quarter in 2007.

Third-quarter profit levels were in line with the company’s plan, True Value said in a statement.

True Value had sales of $2 billion in 2006. The co-op includes approximately 5,500 independent retailer locations under banners including True Value, Grand Rental Station, Taylor Rental, Party Central, Home & Garden Showplace and Induserve Supply.

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Ainsworth settles OSB lawsuit

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Canadian wood products manufacturer Ainsworth has become the second defendant to opt out of a U.S. class action lawsuit against oriented strand board (OSB) producers by agreeing to an $8.6 million settlement. In a prepared statement released on Oct. 19, the company stressed that it denies “each and every one of the plaintiffs’ claims and strongly asserts that it has not violated U.S. antitrust or any other laws.” The decision to enter into the settlement “was solely based on the need to avoid prolonged, expensive litigation,” the statement said.

The antitrust case, filed in February 2006 and granted class action status on Aug. 3, alleges that OSB manufacturers began conspiring together in 2002 to artificially reduce the supply and inflate the prices of OSB. Other defendants named in the lawsuit are Louisiana-Pacific, Weyerhaeuser, Norbord Industries, Potlatch, Tolko Industries and Grant Forest Products.

J.M. Huber has also agreed to a settlement, agreeing to pay $2 million to individuals or businesses that purchased OSB from June 1, 2002, to March 5, 2007. All settlements will be held in escrow until the entire case is resolved.

In a statement filed with the court, Huber also denied the charges but cited the expense and distraction of litigation as its reason for exiting the case.

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