Molpus buys timberland in seven states
Molpus Woodlands Group, a timberlands investment management group, has announced the acquisition of 124,521 acres of pine in the states of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. Molpus purchased the tract from Rock Creek Capital, which in turn acquired the acreage from International Paper Co.
Molpus president Dick Molpus said in a prepared statement: "The International Paper properties are high-quality timberlands located in seven southeastern states and represent a diversity of wood baskets with strong product demand. Although these properties were purchased for timberland prices, their proximity to urban areas and major corridors leads us to believe they have promising development, biomass and conservational opportunities."
This acquisition increases Molpus’ total timberland assets under management to more than a billion dollars. Molpus is adding two additional office locations in Florida and North Carolina to its current 14 offices located in eight other states. Headquartered in Jackson, Miss., Molpus is a family-owned company that began in 1905 as a mercantile store in Philadelphia, Miss., before becoming the Molpus Lumber Co.
Wolseley seeks Swiss headquarters
Wolseley, the parent company of U.S. plumbing distributor Ferguson, has announced plans to move its official headquarters to Switzerland in order to reduce its tax burden in England. If approved by shareholders, the London-based firm would create a holding company called “New Wolseley” but continue to employ nearly 10,000 people in the U.K.
New Wolseley would still be listed and traded on the London Stock Exchange, according to the proposal.
Based on earnings in the last financial year, the move would save the company about 23 million pounds (US$36 million), company executives said in a conference call.
In tandem with the Sept. 27 announcement, Wolseley released its financial earnings for fiscal 2010. The global supplier of building materials narrowed its losses to 340 million pounds (US $538 million), compared with 1.17 billion pounds (US $1.85 billion) for fiscal 2009. Revenues were reported at 13.2 billion pounds (US$20.8 billion) for fiscal 2010, which ended July 31, 2010, a 9% drop from revenues of 14.4 billion pounds (US$22.7 billion) a year ago.
According to Wolseley’s financial statement, it retains a 44% interest in Stock Building Supply, which it sold to the Gores Group in 2009. “The [company’s] share of the after-tax losses of the business in [fiscal 2010] amounted to 13 million pounds (US$20.5 million),” Wolseley said. “In light of the level of ongoing losses generated by the business, the group has concluded that its investment is impaired and has written off the carrying value of 41 million pounds. The group has no requirement to fund any investment in the future.”
As for Ferguson, one of the largest distributors of plumbing and HVAC equipment in the United States, revenue was down by 11%, the company said. Reported earning were 239 million pounds (US$377 million), down 70 million pounds (US$110.6 million).
Foote to step down as USG CEO in 2011
Chicago-based USG Corp. announced that current president and COO James Metcalf will assume the duties of CEO and president, effective Jan. 1, 2011. Current CEO William Foote will continue in his role as chairman of the USG Corp. board of directors.
“It has been a distinct privilege to lead this great company over the past 15 years,” Foote said. “Jim has prepared himself extremely well to become USG’s next chief executive, and I look forward to working closely with him as he assumes this well-deserved role.”
Metcalf joined USG in 1980 as a sales trainee. In addition to his experience in the company’s sales organization, he has served as president of the company’s building systems unit, which includes United States Gypsum Co. and USG Interiors, and president of its L&W Supply Corp. distribution business. Metcalf serves on the board of directors of USG, Molex Inc. and the National Association of Manufacturers. He is also a policy advisory board member for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University, a chair of the Business Advisory Committee for the Robert Crown Center in Hinsdale, Ill., and a trustee of the USG Foundation.