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Hitachi Koki launches rebranding initiative

BY Andy Carlo

Power tool manufacturer Hitachi Koki Co. is changing its name to Koki Holdings Co., Ltd., effective June 1, 2018.

The Tokyo-based company is rebranding its full line of power tools known as Hitachi or Hitachi/Koki under a new HiKOKI brand, effective Oct. 1, 2018. According to Hitachi Koki, the changes are in line with the company’s international growth strategy. This includes expanding its business in nearly 100 countries.

Hitachi Koki, which also manufactures life-science equipment, has formed a new partnership with KKR, a global private equity group. Koki Holdings plans to accelerate expansion, both organic and through acquisitions, the company said.

Last month, the manufacturer established a new European subsidiary, called Koki Holdings Europe GmbH, in the suburbs of Dusseldorf, Germany.

 “We have delivered award-winning innovation and manufacturing with solid business performance for over 70 years, and now is the time for us to focus on expansion as a truly global company while remaining rooted in our Japanese tradition,” said Osami Maehara, president of Hitachi Koki. “We have fully committed to accelerate growth alongside a dynamic new partner in KKR as we pursue our goal to become a global leader in power tools and life science instruments.” 

Looking forward, Maehara said the repackaged company has set a sales target of U.S. $2.7 billion in fiscal 2020. “We are confident we can take our business to the next level with the support of all of our employees and partners worldwide, and the revamping of our brand name is the first step to make this possible.”

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(CORRECTION: A previous version of this article included an incorrect figure for the company's 2020 sales target.]

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New owner for Southwest Building Materials

BY HBSDealer Staff

Gypsum Management and Supply, a North American distributor of gypsum wallboard, suspended ceiling systems and other specialty building products, acquired Southwest Building Materials, Ltd., based in Amarillo, Texas.

Founded in 1984, SWBM distributes wallboard, ceilings and other interior building products serving residential and commercial projects of all sizes in the Texas Panhandle, Oklahoma and Eastern New Mexico markets. SWBM will enhance GMS’s existing distribution network in West Texas, which includes legacy branches in Lubbock, Texas and Midland, Texas.

Brad Nannen, VP of the Southern Division of GMS, said: “We are thrilled to welcome Southwest Building Materials to the GMS family. The acquisition allows GMS to continue to expand its already strong presence in Texas, reinforcing our commitment to high quality products and excellent customer service.”

SWBM has served the Texas Panhandle and surrounding areas for more than 30 years.

Founded in 1971, GMS operates a network of more than 210 distribution centers across the United States. The company’s extensive product offerings include wallboard, suspended ceilings systems and complementary interior construction materials. GMS is designed to provide comprehensive one-stop-shopping for its core customers — interior contractors who install these products in commercial and residential buildings.

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Lowe’s names new president of international business

BY Andy Carlo

Lowe's Cos. has appointed Sylvain Prud'homme to the position of president of international business, effective Dec. 15.

Prud'homme will be based in Boucherville, Quebec, and report to Lowe’s chairman, president and CEO Robert Niblock.

As president of Lowe’s international business, Prud'homme will continue to serve as president and CEO of Lowe's Canada and add responsibilities for the retailer’s Mexico business, with the president of Lowe's Mexico now reporting to him.

The appointment follows last month’s news that Richard Maltsbarger is transitioning to COO of the U.S. business in February 2018.

"Sylvain's outstanding operational leadership has been instrumental in growing the company into one of the leading home improvement retailers in Canada," Niblock said. "We continue to be pleased with the integration of RONA and believe we are well positioned for continued success in Canada." 

Niblock added: "Sylvain has more than three decades of experience in the retail industry and we feel confident that he will continue to drive operational excellence for our operations in Canada and Mexico."

Prud'homme joined the retailer as president of Lowe's Canada in 2013. Following the 2016 acquisition of Rona, he was named president and CEO of Lowe's Canada. He is responsible for driving the Canadian home improvement business for Lowe's, including RONA's network of stores and independent dealers operating under other banners.

"I'm honored to lead strong leadership teams in both Canada and Mexico and continue building on the positive momentum and growth in these operations over the past several years," Prud'homme said.

Prior to Lowe's Canada, Prud'homme served as EVP of operations and merchandising for Loblaw Companies Limited. He was also president of western operations for Sobeys Inc. and spent several years as SVP of operations and merchandising for Walmart Canada.

Lowe's, based in Mooresville, N.C., operates or serves more than 2,370 home improvement and hardware stores in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

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