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Louisiana-Pacific in venture with Chilean firm

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wood products giant Louisiana-Pacific has announced a planned joint venture agreement with Chile-based Masisa for oriented strand board (OSB) manufacturing capabilities in Ponta Grossa, Brazil.

The OSB assets were placed in service in 2003 and have an annual production capacity of 375 million square feet, according to a joint news release from the companies.

“This is an important addition to [Louisiana-Pacific’s] investments in South America and will accelerate progress toward our strategic objective of growing our international business,” said Rick Olszewski, executive vp-sales of Louisiana-Pacific’s specialty products businesses, and president of LP South America. “The Brazilian assets will help us continue to satisfy the growing need for structural panels in South America.”

LP currently operates an OSB and siding mill in Panguipulli, Chile, and is opening a second mill in Lautaro, Chile, in the first quarter of 2008. Additionally, LP is in the planning process of relocating its Woodland, Maine, OSB assets to a to-be-determined location in South America.

Louisiana-Pacific, based in Nashville, Tenn., is one of North America’s largest suppliers of building products.

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Snap-on names new CEO

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Kenosha, Wis.-based Snap-on has named president and COO Nicholas Pinchuk to the post of CEO, replacing Jack Michaels.

Pinchuk, 61, will continue to serve as president, while Michaels, 70, will remain chairman of the board, the company said.

“Nick’s leadership as COO reaffirms that he will guide the corporation’s continued success,” said Michaels.

Pinchuk has been with the company since 2002 and was named president and COO in April.

Snap-on is a global manufacturer and marketer of tools, diagnostics and equipment for professional users.

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Pier 1 narrows losses in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Specialty retailer Pier 1 Imports greatly narrowed its losses in the third quarter to $9.96 million, an improvement over $72.72 million in losses in the same quarter last year.

Sales fell 7 percent to $374.2 million compared with $402.7 million in the same period last year.

Pier 1’s new president and CEO Alex Smith said the narrower losses resulted from a greater emphasis on sustainable margins and lower ticket impulse items in stores.

“We are pleased with our third-quarter margin results, which would have been higher had it not been for the clearance of our Pier 1 Kids merchandise,” Smith noted.

The retailer saw cost savings to the tune of $21.2 million on marketing expenses, $10.8 million in payroll savings and $5.4 million in savings on other general administrative costs.

Smith further said the retailer saw improvements in conversion rates and units per transaction, as well as in total transaction value.

“This is only the beginning; we still have a lot of work to do,” he said. “However, the fact that we achieved these results with less than perfect execution gives me great optimism about our ability to return to profitability and beyond.”

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