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Sustainable Forestry Initiative names new VP

BY Ken Clark

Andrew de Vries has joined the Sustainable Forestry Initiative as VP conservation, indigenous and government relations. He will oversee the SFI conservation program in Canada and engage Native Americans, First Nations and Metis groups both in the development and use of the SFI standard.

He will also work with governments in Canada and Europe to ensure inclusive forest certification related policies. 

"Andrew brings more than 20 years of wildlife conservation and natural resource management experience to SFI and will lead our forest conservation efforts in Canada," said Kathy Abusow, president and CEO. "His ability to work with a wide variety of forest owners and communities dependent on this valuable resource makes Andrew an excellent fit for the SFI program." 

Most recently, de Vries was the Chief Biologist for the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC), Canada’s national forest industry trade association, where he led conservation and aboriginal engagement efforts, while also working on the development of government policies in these areas. 

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Toro reports record-setting first quarter

BY Ken Clark

The Toro Co. reported net earnings of $31.4 million in the first quarter of 2013, compared with net earnings of $19.9 million in the same quarter last year.

Net sales increased 4.9% to $444.7 million for the period ended Feb. 1.

“Our record-setting first quarter, driven by particularly strong channel demand for large turf equipment and the continued growth of micro irrigation sales, propelled us to a solid start for the year,” said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. “Our financial performance benefitted from both accelerated sales related to pre-Tier 4 product shipments and early professional end-user demand, along with positive effects of our productivity initiatives.” 

A new 30-in. professional walk power mowers for landscape contractors and the newly Toro-branded products from the company’s Astec and Stone Construction acquisitions from 2012, are helping create further opportunities, the company said.

Hoffman described the company’s residential business retail potential as "solid."

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Sherwin-Williams settles over stock plan

BY Ken Clark

Cleveland-based Sherwin-Williams Co. announced an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor to settle a previously disclosed investigation of transactions related to its employee stock ownership plan. 

The agreement calls for an $80 million payment to the plan, which will result in an after-tax charge to earnings of $49.2 million. 

In a statement, the company said: "Following a nine-month negotiation with the DOL, the company’s management and board of directors have decided that it would be in the best interest of the company and its shareholders to enter into this agreement to resolve these claims and avoid potentially costly litigation." 

Sherwin-Williams added: "The company believes that the DOL’s claims are without merit and strongly disagrees with the allegation that ESOP plan participants sustained losses of any kind as a result of these transactions. The company’s position is supported by internal audits and audits by an independent third party and the DOL."

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