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Eagle Materials sees gains in sales and earnings

BY Ken Clark

Eagle Materials, producer of basic building products including cement and gypsum wallboard, reported sales of $154.0 million in the quarter ended June 30, up 29% from the same quarter last year.

The sales increase was driven primarily by increased wallboard average net sales prices and increased sales volumes for all of the company’s diversified businesses.

Net earnings for the quarter were $13.98 million, up from $807,000 in the prior-year quarter.

“Although we do not expect a significant increase in spending for infrastructure in calendar 2012, we do expect spending in 2012 will exceed that of 2011,” the company stated in its filing with the SEC.

Weak residential construction adversely impacted demand for wallboard. Eagle implemented a price increase in January 2012. The increase was described as a way to offset input cost increases that have added up over the last several years.

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Johns Manville acquires insulation group

BY Brae Canlen

Johns Manville, a manufacturer of building products, has announced the purchase of Industrial Insulation Group (IIG), a manufacturer of insulation for industrial, commercial and fireproofing applications.  

IIG was formed in 2002 as a joint venture between Johns Manville and The Calsilite Group. Johns Manville previously owned a minority interest in IIG, but will now operate it as a standalone company wholly owned by Johns Manville. IIG’s product line complements Johns Manville’s portfolio of insulation products. 

IIG offers a unique “good, better, best” portfolio of high-temperature insulation, ranging from mineral wool to perlite to calcium silicate.

“Expanding JM’s interest in IIG is another way we are addressing customers’ needs by offering the industry’s most complete line of insulation products,” said Todd Raba, chairman, president and CEO of Johns Manville. “IIG has a consistent track record of product performance, in keeping with the quality our customers expect from Johns Manville. We look forward to exploring opportunities to build on IIG’s strong market position and expand its product portfolio.”

Johns Manville does not plan to significantly change the operations at IIG. Existing IIG plants located in Brunswick, Ga.; Grambling, La.; Fruita, Colo.; Phenix City, Ala.; and Houston are a key part of Johns Manville future commercial and industrial strategy. IIG chairman and CEO Philippe Delouvrier will remain involved with the company in an advisory role.

Johns Manville, a Berkshire Hathaway company, is a Denver-based manufacturer and marketer of building insulation, mechanical insulation, commercial roofing and roof insulation, as well as fibers and nonwovens for commercial, industrial and residential applications.

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USG to sell European operations

BY Brae Canlen

USG Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its wholly owned European business operations to affiliates of Gebr. Knauf Verwaltungsgesellschaft KG for approximately $80 million. That amount is subject to adjustment based on working capital and net debt levels at closing.

The businesses being sold include the manufacture and distribution of Donn brand ceiling grid and Sheetrock brand finishing compounds throughout Europe, Russia and Turkey.

“While USG’s European operations have been performing well, we prefer to focus our investment in higher growth markets,” said James Metcalf, chairman, president and CEO. “We contacted more than 60 potentially interested parties, including both strategic buyers and private equity firms, and decided to sell the businesses following a thorough evaluation that produced strong interest. We’re pleased with the value we are receiving for this group of assets.”

Closing of the sale is subject to receipt of necessary governmental approvals and other customary closing conditions. Closing is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of this year.

Headquartered in Chicago, USG is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems through its United States Gypsum Co., USG Interiors, L&W Supply Corp. and other subsidiaries. The company serves the commercial, residential, and repair and remodel construction markets. 

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