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Paul Menard: Heir apparent?

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Paul Menard, a NASCAR driver who also happens to be the son of Menards founder John Menard, reflected on his racing career and strict upbringing in an interview with USA Today.

Although his father has yet to name a successor to his 250-plus chain of home improvement stores, the self-made billionaire assigned the younger Menard a variety of store-related jobs as he was growing up, from managing flight plans for the company’s corporate jets to building endcaps and stapling receipts to rebate forms. 

Two years ago, Paul Menard said he spent his Christmas vacation driving a forklift around a Menards distribution center in Chicago, “learning the ropes.” He also holds a seat on the board of directors at Menards.

For now, Paul Menard is content to drive the bright yellow No. 27 Chevrolet bearing the company logo. He is now ranked fifth on the NASCAR circuit. "We’re a racing family," he told USA Today. "[You’re] expected to run well. You did your job. If you don’t, it’s, ‘What the hell you doing?’ "

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Home Depot accelerates stock buy-back

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A "stabilized business" has paved the way for an accelerated stock buy-back program at Atlanta-based The Home Depot. 

The home improvement giant announced the pricing of a $2 billion senior note issuance to refinance $1 billion of senior notes that came due in March 2011 and to repurchase $1 billion of outstanding shares through an accelerated share repurchase program with Barclays Capital. 

The accelerated share repurchase is in addition to the company’s previously announced intention to repurchase approximately $2.5 billion of outstanding shares throughout 2011 using excess cash generated by the business.

"Creating strong shareholder value is a priority, and we are committed to returning capital to our shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases," said Frank Blake, chairman and CEO, in a prepared statement. "2010 was the first year of positive sales growth since 2006, and our business continues to stabilize. As such, we elected to take advantage of the attractive interest rate environment and raise incremental debt capital to be used for share repurchases."

In February 2011, the company announced a 6% increase in its quarterly cash dividend to 25 cents per share. As of the end of fiscal 2010, the company had $9.9 billion remaining in its share repurchase authorization.

 

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A.O. Smith earns green designation in Johnson City, Tenn.

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A. O. Smith is promoting its water heater plant in Johnson City, Tenn., as the first company facility — and one of the few facilities in Tennessee — to earn Energy Star certification.

The 470,000-sq.-ft. Johnson City facility did not set out originally to obtain the Energy Star certification, according to Andy Demski, director of operations. Instead, it was looking at long-term initiatives to reduce the building’s energy and water consumption.

“We saw this as a strategic blueprint to help steer projects toward a specific objective of improved efficiency and reduce the cost of energy and water in the building,” he observed. “We already had an aggressive recycling program in place; this fits in under that umbrella.”

To qualify, a building’s energy efficiency must rank in the top 25% nationwide compared with similar facilities. The rankings are based on the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Energy Performance Rating System. Johnson City received a rating of 82 on the 100-point Energy Star performance scale; a building that scores 75 or higher is eligible for the certification.

The primary areas of focus in the plant were lighting, heating, ventilation and water usage.

 

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