James Hardie buying European gypsum company
James Hardie Industries plc, the Australian fiber cement siding manufacturer, has entered into an agreement to acquire German-based XI (DL) Holdings GmbH and its subsidiaries from Xella International S.A. in an all-cash transaction valued at 473 million euros (approximately US$549 million).
The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of James Hardie’s 2018 fiscal year and includes Fermacell, one of Europe’s largest fiber gypsum board manufacturers.
Fermacell has more than a 70% share of the category in Europe and also produces cement-bonded boards. This acquisition provides James Hardie with a growth platform for expanding its fiber cement business into the European market, James Hardie said in a statement.
“Fermacell’s market position, go-to-market strategy and strong management team will enable us to scale and accelerate our European business, which has long been a strategic goal,” said Louis Gries, James Hardie CEO. “Fermacell will diversify our geographic, product and end-market portfolio, complementing our strong positions in North America and Australasia, and will create significant growth opportunities and drive long-term value for customers, employees and shareholders.”
Tax talk heats up
Urging members to make their voice heard on the contentious provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association gave a mixed review of the tax reform package.
A legislative alert issued by the NLBMDA Thursday morning expressed strong support for part of the plan, and strong opposition to others, especially the proposed changes to the mortgage interest deduction and the state and local tax deductions (SALT).
The NLBMDA is encouraging dealers to tell Congress to “Responsibly reform the tax code."
The NLBMDA’s alert states, in part:
“The bill makes major changes to the mortgage interest deduction by lowering the amount of mortgage debt eligible from $1 million to $500,000. It also eliminates the interest deduction for mortgages on second homes and home equity loan debt, creating an artificial line of demarcation on home prices that could devalue equity for homeowners across the country and destabilize housing markets. At a minimum, any changes should set the cap high enough relative to the cost of living, and be indexed for inflation, so it is fair to households living in higher cost areas.
"NLBMDA is in strong opposition to the proposed SALT deduction changes. It eliminates theitemized deductions for state and local income and sales taxes, but allows individuals to deduct up to $10,000 for property taxes. These changes would harm individuals living in areas with higher local and state taxes, and make it more difficult for businesses in those areas to retain and attract workers.
"NLBMDA does strongly support several provisions in the legislation, including estate tax repeal, lowering the corporate income tax rate to 20 percent, and the immediate write-off of capital purchases (excluding land) through 2022. The association has been a tireless advocate for repealing the estate tax that is a burden on family-owned businesses, and maintains that making permanent the full expensing of business investments will provide businesses with greater certainty and predictability."
Also Wednesday morning, the California Building Industry Association gave its mixed review. Describing tax reform as “much-needed” and saying it liked the overall direction of the bill, CBIA objected strenuously to the provisions relating to housing.
You can read the CBIA statement here:
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What are your thoughts on the plan to reform taxes? Let us know here.
Poll Results: Here’s what’s boosting business
There are many forces acting on the home improvement industry. First of all, people have to live somewhere. Secondly, the dwellings in which people live get older every day, and are almost always in need of some kind of repair or maintenance.
There are also several types of housing activity that drive sales to hardware stores and building supply dealers. We asked readers to break it down for us. Specificially, we asked: “What type of housing activity is your biggest business booster?”
With just under 60 readers voting at last tally, here are the results:
• 51%, Single-family home construction
• 25%, Remodeling
• 18%, Maintenance and
• 7%, Multi-family home construction