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USG to sell European operations

BY Brae Canlen

USG Corp. has entered into a definitive agreement for the sale of its wholly owned European business operations to affiliates of Gebr. Knauf Verwaltungsgesellschaft KG for approximately $80 million. That amount is subject to adjustment based on working capital and net debt levels at closing.

The businesses being sold include the manufacture and distribution of Donn brand ceiling grid and Sheetrock brand finishing compounds throughout Europe, Russia and Turkey.

“While USG’s European operations have been performing well, we prefer to focus our investment in higher growth markets,” said James Metcalf, chairman, president and CEO. “We contacted more than 60 potentially interested parties, including both strategic buyers and private equity firms, and decided to sell the businesses following a thorough evaluation that produced strong interest. We’re pleased with the value we are receiving for this group of assets.”

Closing of the sale is subject to receipt of necessary governmental approvals and other customary closing conditions. Closing is expected to take place in the fourth quarter of this year.

Headquartered in Chicago, USG is a manufacturer and distributor of high-performance building systems through its United States Gypsum Co., USG Interiors, L&W Supply Corp. and other subsidiaries. The company serves the commercial, residential, and repair and remodel construction markets. 

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Beacon Roofing Supply still on the prowl for acquisitions

BY Brae Canlen

Beacon Roofing Supply, one of the nation’s largest distributors of roofing, siding and other exterior building products, reported sales of $560.5 million for its third fiscal quarter, a 3.7% rise over sales of $540.7 million in the same quarter of 2011. Existing-market or same-store sales, which exclude branches acquired after the beginning of last year’s third quarter, declined 1.5%.

This year’s third-quarter sales were primarily impacted by lower non-residential roofing activity and less residential roofing activity in the markets affected by last spring’s hail storms, the company said. Sales results were also affected by the benefit of higher average selling prices.

Net income for the third quarter of 2012, which ended June 30, was $25.4 million, compared with $24.1 million a year ago.

Paul Isabella, the company’s president and CEO, said that most of Beacon’s regions were having “an exceptional year.”

“Our total sales have benefited from the positive impact from acquisitions, while our sales in existing markets for the third quarter fell only 1.5%. Sales in our existing markets were up against a very strong 11.6% increase in last year’s third quarter, when there was substantial roofing activities beginning in June from the spring 2011 hail storms.”

Beacon added two new companies to its roster in July: Structural Materials Co. in Southern California and Contractors Roofing & Supply Co. in St. Louis. “We are confident that we will add other quality companies in the near future that fit our target acquisition profile,” Isabella said. “Although we will be up against tough comparisons again in the fourth quarter, we expect a solid finish to fiscal 2012."

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Revenues increase as new orders rise at Beazer

BY Brae Canlen

The third-quarter results at Beazer Homes showed a marked improvement in several categories, including new orders, homes closings, revenues and losses.

The Atlanta-based home builder reported revenues of $254.6 million, compared with $172.8 million in second fiscal quarter of 2011.

Total new orders were 1,555 homes, a 28.0% increase from a year ago, and the second-quarter cancellation rates were 24.5%, compared with 24.3% in fiscal 2011. Beazer reported total home closings at 1,109 homes, a 40.2% increase from the same period last year.

The average sales price from home closings was $227.3 thousand, compared with $213.0 thousand in fiscal 2011.

Net loss for Beazer during the second quarter of 2012 was  $39.9 million, which including a loss from discontinued operations of $1.8 million, compared with a net loss of $59.1million for fiscal 2011, including loss from discontinued operations of $3.4 million.

“I am very pleased with our third quarter results,” said CEO Allan Merrill. “We generated improvement in new home orders, home closings and backlog, recording our fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year increases in these metrics. This improvement reflects both the continuing operational benefits of our path-to-profitability strategies and gradually improving conditions in the housing market."

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