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Haier may acquire GE appliance division

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The Haier Group, one of China’s largest appliance manufacturers, is considering a purchase of General Electric’s appliance division, according to reports in Chinese and Hong Kong newspapers.

Zhang Tieyan, CEO of Haier Asia, said that his company “will make an assessment on the possibility,” according to news reports.

Haier is China’s largest producer of refrigerators and air conditioners. In the United States, Haier sells appliances through Home Depot, Best Buy and Wal-Mart stores.

In May, General Electric announced plans to explore a sale, spin-off or joint venture partner for its appliance business. In July, the company said it continues to explore all options for its consumer and industrial businesses with a primary focus on spinning off the entire unit, which includes appliances, to existing GE shareholders.

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BMHC pulls out from Florida

BY HBSDEALER Staff

BMHC, the San Francisco-based pro dealer, has announced its decision to withdraw from the state of Florida due to the prolonged housing slump there. BMHC serves production builders in Florida through its SelectBuild division, which offers shell construction, concrete services, and truss and stair manufacturing.

Approximately 140 employees will be affected, according to BMHC. SelectBuild will fulfill all its contractual obligations as it closes down its operations over the next four months, the company said.

“The Florida market has weakened considerably, and we anticipate it will be some time before improvement is seen,” said Stanley Wilson, BMHC’s president and chief operating officer, in a prepared statement. He added that housing starts have dropped from a peak of 265,000 in 2005 to an estimated 61,000 in 2008.

SelectBuild operates from eight locations in Florida, according to BMHC’s 2008 annual report. It accounts for approximately 8 percent of BMHC’s annual revenues. There are no BMC West locations in Florida.

BMHC is currently in talks with its lenders regarding a failure to meet the covenants of its credit facility. Ranked 5th on the ProDealer Top 350 for 2007, BMHC’s sales dropped 28.7 percent last year, from $3.20 billion to $2.28 billion.

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Trex sees net income gains

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Trex, maker of decking, railing, fencing and trim products, saw second-quarter net income more than double to $7.9 million from $2.6 million in the same period last year. Net sales fell 20 percent to $95 million from $118.8 million in the year-ago period.

The Winchester, Va.-based company credited expanded distribution capabilities for the gains, as well as success with new products, such as Escapes decking and Seclusions fencing products.

“We also continued to improve our productivity and reduce costs,” said president and CEO Ronald Kaplan. “In addition, we continued to manage liquidity well.”

Kaplan further outlined company predictions for further sales growth in the rest of the year, including an increase in sales by 12 percent to 21 percent in the third quarter.

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