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RONA to sell Commercial and Professional division

BY HBSDealer Staff

RONA, Canada’s largest hardware retailer and distributor, is selling its Commercial and Professional Market division to Talisker Plumbing Corp., a subsidiary of Emco Corp., for an expected net cash consideration of $215 million after fees and transaction expenses.

According to Bloomberg, the sale will primarily help RONA pay down debt and free up capital to focus in on its retail operations.

The division, which specializes in plumbing, heating, ventilation and HVAC systems, was created when RONA acquired Noble in 2007. It now employs more than 1,400 in Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia, and it is expected to maintain its store locations and current management structure. 

As of the June 20 statement, the transaction is still subject to regulatory approvals. The division will be classified as a discontinued operation, and RONA will be required to value the assets held for sale. The transaction is expected to result in a pre-tax loss of approximately $125 million.

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Lumber Liquidators accused of formaldehyde violation

BY Steph Koyfman

Lumber Liquidators Holdings has been accused of selling products containing illegal levels of formaldehyde.

The claims came to light in a report posted on Seeking Alpha last Thursday by analyst Xuhua Zhou. 

Bronstein, Gewirtz & Grossman is among the legal firms investigating the allegations on behalf of purchasers of securities for the company. Another is Faruqi & Faruqi. From June 19 to June 21 — after the allegations of high levels of formaldehyde surfaced — shares of Lumber Liquidators fell about 11%. On Tuesday morning, the stock rebounded to above $77.00 in early trading. 

Lumber Liquidators, one of the largest retailers of hardwood flooring in the United States, trades its stocks at nearly 50 times its 2012 earnings, according to Seeking Alpha. Despite presenting a short opportunity to investors, the company lacks a sufficient quality control system, which may be part of the reason for its high margins. The source speculates that product recalls could inflict serious harm to its valuation.

Toana, Va.-based Lumber Liquidators launched an end-of-quarter clearance sale for all of its flooring products on Sunday.

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Colorado’s MLS listings just got a little greener

BY HBSDealer Staff

Thanks to the efforts of KB Home and its partner, non-profit energy ratings standardbearer RESNET, the Colorado Energy Office has added a new "Green Features and Certifications" category to its Multiple Listing Service, which includes Energy Star certificaton, HERS scores and other energy efficiency features.

According to the company, KB Home has pioneered this effort since 2011 and was the first home builder to provide energy-effciency information directly to consumers via its Energy Performance Guide. KB Homes was also the first to put HERS score labeling on all of its homes to allow consumers to make informed decisions regarding energy costs and utilities. Now, home buyers in Colorado will be able to see this data across the board.

"There will soon be a day that home buyers will demand to know a home’s HERS score or its estimated energy bill — and we are well-prepared for this today," said Matt Mandino, president of KB Home’s Colorado division. "We know that an energy-efficient home is a better value by helping lower the total cost of homeownership. In fact, in the state of Colorado, on average, a new KB home is up to 70% more efficient than a typical resale home."

Colorado isn’t the only area where KB Homes is realizing significant growth at the moment. The company announced the grand openings of two new communities in the Bay Area on Friday. KB Homes will be expanding its single-family home presence in Danville and Dublin this summer.

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