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Third-quarter earnings up 49 percent at Whirlpool

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Whirlpool reported a 49 percent rise in third-quarter earnings today, to $175 million from $117 million in the same period last year. Sales essentially were flat compared with last year at $4.84 billion.

The appliance giant’s results included a $41 million gain for asset and investment sales — the company recorded a similar $42 million gain in last year’s third quarter. Last year’s third quarter was the first to fully reflect Whirlpool’s spring 2006 acquisition of Maytag.

Sales were hurt by the downturn in the U.S. housing market, the company said. However, the quarter also saw “strong improvement” in international business, as well as lower global taxes.

“Our global operating platform, product innovation and strong consumer brands have enabled us to effectively manage through both the unprecedented global material cost environment which began more than three years ago, and more recent industry demand declines within the United States,” explained Jeff Fettig, chairman and CEO of Whirlpool.

Whirlpool’s North American division saw sales fall 8 percent, while sales in Europe increased 12 percent and sales in Latin America increased 23 percent. Whirlpool Asia saw sales increase 18 percent.

Whirlpool had sales last year of $18 billion.

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S&P places watch on BMHC

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC) has been placed on a negative watch by Standard & Poor’s rating services, a possible precursor to a lowered rating over the next few months. S&P took the action following last week’s SEC filing from Chapman Capital, a BMHC shareholder that is seeking to oust chairman and CEO Robert Mellor.

“This change could lead to unexpected changes in business strategies that neither support credit quality nor stay within our expectations at the current ratings,” said S&P analyst Andy Sookram in a prepared statement.

The credit watch also made reference to “an expectation that this downturn will last longer than previously expected.”

Chapman Capital, based in Los Angeles, owns a 9 percent stake in BMHC, according to the firm. The managing member, Robert Chapman, has filed numerous SEC documents calling for changes at BMHC, the most recent being the replacement of Mellor by Stan Wilson, president of the BMC West division.

BMHC’s 2006 direct sales to professional customers were $2.8 billion. The company’s total sales in 2006 were $3.2 billion.

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Stanley Works board names new member

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New Britain, Conn.-based Stanley Works has named Carlos Cardoso, president and CEO of metal products company Kennametal, to its board of directors.

Cardoso, 49, joined Kennametal in 2003 as chief operating officer prior to being promoted to his current position in 2005.

Prior to his time at Kennametal, Cardoso was president of the Pump Division of Flowserve Corp., a $1.3 billion operation.

John Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Stanley Works, said Cardoso brings “a wide range of experiences in marketing, sales, service and operations and a global business perspective to our board.”

Stanley Works is a worldwide supplier of tools and security solutions.

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