Creditors to take majority control of Ainsworth Lumber
Vancouver-based oriented strand board producer Ainsworth Lumber, facing financial difficulty because of tumult in the U.S. housing market, has announced a plan to allow creditors to take over 96 percent of the company.
The recapitalization plan is pending the approval of shareholders and Canadian courts. Under the plan, members of the founding Ainsworth family will lose their controlling interest, according to the Edmonton (British Columbia) Journal. The Ainsworth family members most recently controlled 58 percent of company shares and have been prominent in the company’s management. That will change under the new arrangement, with the new owners of the company being the bondholders who will own 96 percent of newly issued stock.
As part of the plan, $823.5 million in debt will be converted to equity in the company and $150 million in new bonds. A further $200 million in bonds will be issued to fund recapitalization costs and operating expenses.
The company’s board of directors, supported by a recommendation of an independent committee, unanimously recommended the action.
“[Under the] company’s existing capital structure, the recapitalization is the best alternative available to the company and its lenders, noteholders, shareholders and other stakeholders,” read a statement from the lumber company.
Sports marketing lifts Makita
Toolmaker Makita USA credited its off-the-beaten path marketing strategy as one reason for the company’s relative sales strength. Rather than invest in Nascar and NFL, the power tool manufacturer has chosen to spend marketing dollars in what it calls “highly targeted sports: dirt bike racing and soccer.”
“We looked for sports where we could enjoy a major presence and be meaningful to the passionate fans,” said Makita vp-marketing Ken Hefley.
The company said the marketing strategy is paying off. North American sales for Japan-based Makita increased 9.6 percent for the year, to 56.422 billion yen (US$493 million). Makita USA said it posted a double-digit increase in sales compared to the power tool category for the same year.
Targeting an audience of 18-to-35-year-old pro tradesmen, the company created Team Rockstar Makita Suzuki. At the same time, Makita views its relationship with Majo League Soccer as a bridge to the growing base of Hispanic contractors, an important demographic for the company.
In its most recent promotion, Makita is promoting the “Makita Building America’s Soccer Stadiums,” a program designed to make Makita the “tool brand of choice” for the construction of soccer-specific stadiums.
Ace realigns retail operations team
Ace Hardware has announced that Kane Calamari — an Ace employee from 1990-1998 — has rejoined the company as vp-retail operations. At the same time, Ken Nichols, who had been serving in that role, was promoted to senior vp-retail operations. Both Calamari and Nichols are based at Ace’s Oak Brook, Ill., headquarters.
In his new role, Calamari, 41, oversees the field operations team consisting of regional and district managers; the field new business team of market development managers; the paint field team and the Oak Brook-based operations administration staff.
Before rejoining Ace, Calamari was senior vp-sales for North America at Robert Bosch Tool. While at Ace, he held various positions, including retail marketing manager. Nichols, 59, originally joined Ace in 1978 and was named vp-retail operations in 2000.
“We are extremely excited to welcome Kane back to Ace and to promote Ken,” said Ace president and CEO Ray Griffith. “This new alignment of our retail operations team will further help us support our stores and continue to drive success at retail.”