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Wha-Lite Tools acquired

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Bon Tool, the Gibsonia, Pa.-based manufacturer of professional tools for the building trades, has announced the acquisition of Wha-Lite for an undisclosed sum.

Based in Chicago, Wha-Lite is a 60-year-old company that makes lightweight magnesium hand tools used for plaster and concrete finishing.

More than 120 Wha-Lite products will continue to be manufactured and marketed under the Wha-Lite brand, according to the announcement.

Distribution will be handled through Bon’s eastern and western distribution centers located in Pennsylvania and Nevada.

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Weyerhaeuser counts a loss in the first quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Weyerhaeuser, one of the world’s largest forest products companies, reported a net loss of $148 million for the first quarter of 2008, a large drop from the $720 million in earnings recorded in the same period last year.

Net sales for the first quarter were $3.4 billion, down 24.4 percent from $4.5 billion last year.

“Business conditions are extremely challenging,” said Daniel Fulton, president and CEO. “The number of single-family housing starts is now below the previous lows of 1979-82. Since many of our products are dependent upon single-family housing starts, we’ve experienced record low product prices when adjusted for inflation.”

The company has reduced its capacity for oriented strand board (OSB) and softwood lumber, Fulton said, and the company “will continue to take action as necessary to balance production to demand.”

The company is putting stock, however, in selling assets to maintain a “focus on our long-term strategic direction,” he added. One example has been the sale of Weyerhaeuser’s containerboard packaging and recycling assets to International Paper for $6 billion.

Declining prices and rising costs have hit the company, with prices for OSB and engineered wood products on the decline. Log costs, fuel costs and costs related to silviculture (replanting forests) have all risen, causing further strain, the company said.

Based in Federal Way, Wash., Weyerhaeuser had 2007 sales of $16.3 billion.

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IKEA plans first Latin American location

BY HBSDEALER Staff

According to a press release from the government of the Dominican Republic, IKEA has set its sights on that country for its first Latin American store, to be opened in early 2009.

The retailer plans to invest about $65 million on a store location near the country’s capitol of Santo Domingo, according to a report in Dominican Today.

The Dominican Republic has been one Latin American country targeted by international retailers in recent years because of its entry into trade agreements with the United States and the European Union.

Wal-Mart is one retailer that has reportedly had interest in the Dominican Republic — the world’s largest retailer has eyed a number of Central American locations. Rumors of the impending appearance of Home Depot, Sears, JC Penney and other retailers have persisted in media outlets and message boards catering to residents of the Dominican Republic. The IKEA announcement, however, has been the only entry officially confirmed by the country.

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