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Lennox will close California hearth plant

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Heating and cooling company Lennox International has announced it will close its hearth products operations in Lynwood, Calif., and consolidate its U.S. factory-built fireplace manufacturing operations to Union City, Tenn. The fireplaces, stoves and other related products are produced for the residential new construction and remodeling markets.

The consolidation will be finished by 2008 at a projected cost of approximately $5 million. The company expects the consolidation to lead to annual cost reductions of more than $2 million starting in 2008.

Lennox CEO Todd Bluedorn said the move is necessary for the company “to be competitive moving forward.”

“The current downturn in the residential new construction market, combined with increasing competition and the need to control costs, make it imperative for us to increase efficiencies in our operations,” he said.

Lennox International produces products for HVAC and refrigeration markets worldwide.

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Weyerhaeuser warns of impending cutbacks

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser has warned of possible closures and curtailments in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

“Market conditions for wood products have not improved in the third quarter,” the company said in its filing. “The ongoing weak market conditions will likely result in further actions by the company to balance supply with demand through closures, curtailments and restricted operating postures at the company’s Wood Products facilities.”

The company said that markets for its cellulose fibers and containerboard, packaging and recycling segments continue to improve.

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Two home builders report further financial woes

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Hovnanian and Beazer Homes — two of the nation’s largest home builders — have reported more negative financial news.

For the quarter ended July 31, Hovnanian reported a loss of $80.5 million, compared with a profit of $74.4 million a year earlier. Sales tumbled 27 percent to $1.1 billion.

The Red Bank, N.J.-based company warned that conditions in most of the regions it operates in remain challenging, suggesting the housing market slump is far from over.

“Buyer psychology has been negatively impacted by a steady stream of news related to falling housing prices, foreclosure rates and mortgage availability,” said CEO Ara Hovnanian. “We expect the current challenging environment to persist through most of 2008.”

Hovnanian’s results included a charge of $108.6 million related to land impairments and write-offs. Even with the negative report, Hovnanian’s shares rose in post-bell trading because the results met Wall Street expectations.

Meanwhile, Atlanta-based Beazer announced Friday that on Sept. 6 it received purported default notices from U.S. Bank National Association, the trustee governing five of Beazer’s outstanding senior notes due between May 2011 and June 2016.

The notices claim Beazer is in default because it has not yet filed its third-quarter report with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The notices further allege that these defaults will become official “events of default” if not remedied in 60 days. Beazer said the notices of default are invalid.

Beazer announced in August it would delay filing its third-quarter report because of a continuing internal investigation by an audit committee of the company’s board of directors.

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