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Temple-Inland agrees to sell timberland

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Temple-Inland, the forest products company with divisions in real estate and financial services, has agreed to sell 1.55 million acres of timberland to an investment unit of Campbell Group, a Portland, Ore.-based timberland investment management company.

The deal is part of a “transformation plan” implemented by the company to increase cash flow in a time the company has been hurt by the downturn in the housing sector.

The deal also includes a 20-year fiber supply agreement for pulpwood and a 12-year fiber supply agreement for sawtimber with Campbell Group.

“The fiber supply agreements will enable us to capture a significant portion of the fiber grown on these lands,” explained Kenneth Jastrow, chairman and CEO of Temple-Inland. “We are pleased that many of our current forest employees will have the opportunity to continue managing these lands under new ownership.”

The company said earlier this year it would spin off its financial services and real estate operations and sell land, while retaining manufacturing operations of its building products division, as well as its corrugated packaging business. At that time, investor Carl Icahn dropped a proxy bid for control of the company.

The company will use $700 million to pay off debts, while offering a special dividend to shareholders totaling $1.1 billion.

Austin, Texas-based Temple-Inland owns around 1.8 million acres of timberland in the South, including Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Georgia.

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Nardelli takes top seat at Chrysler

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot’s former CEO Bob Nardelli has been named CEO at Chrysler, effective Aug. 6. Nardelli also earned a seat on the company’s board of directors.

Recently privatized Chrysler said Nardelli was chosen for his background in operations, experience expected to help in a time when the company is trying to turn around its financial situation. Chrysler was recently purchased by Cerebrus Capital Management, a private equity firm.

“We are excited to welcome Bob to the Chrysler family,” said Tom LaSorda, vice chairman of the board and president of Chrysler. “Bob has a proven track record of success and an unwavering focus on performance and brings deep operational experience and a broad industry background to Chrysler.”

“I am very excited to be part of a team focused on re-establishing Chrysler as a standalone industry leader, with a renewed focus on meeting the needs of customers,” Nardelli said. “I am confident that together we can continue the momentum of Chrysler’s recovery.”

Nardelli served as Home Depot’s CEO starting in 2000 and resigned from his position in January of this year. During his tenure, Nardelli sometimes sparred with investors over certain issues, particularly the company’s investment in its pro dealer business. (Read our in-depth coverage here.)

However, Nardelli’s tenure at Home Depot was marked by sales that doubled from $45.7 billion in 2000 to $81.5 billion in 2005. During that same span, profits rose 123 percent to $5.8 billion from $2.6 billion.

In the end, Nardelli was criticized for his pay package of about $38 million per year, which upset some investors. Home Depot’s board of directors also was criticized for awarding Nardelli a severance package of $210 million, including $20 million in cash, after his Jan. 2 resignation.

Frank Blake, one of Nardelli’s former colleagues at General Electric, has since taken on the CEO spot at Home Depot.

“We’re at a turning point for our company,” Blake told the investors at the company’s annual meeting, held in May. “We’re going to invest now so that when the sector turns, we’ll be stronger than ever.”

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HD Supply opens new distribution center

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Home Depot’s pro unit, HD Supply, has opened a new electrical distribution center in Orlando, Fla.

The 300,000-square-foot center will serve the company’s 25 Florida branches, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

An HD Supply Plumbing/HVAC branch is also located at the same center as the new distribution center.

In a deal expected to close in October, Home Depot is selling its HD Supply wholesale business to Clayton Dubilier & Rice, Bain Capital and Carlyle Group for $10.3 billion.

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