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Wolseley will close branches, cut jobs at Stock

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wolseley PLC, the Reading, England-based parent of Stock Building Supply, has announced it will close 24 branches and cut 370 jobs at Stock because of a lack of improvement in the U.S. housing market. The company had already closed 22 branches and eliminated 4,500 jobs at Stock.

“The group has reacted swiftly and decisively to the difficult conditions in the U.S. housing market and will continue to pursue its strategy to create competitive advantage,’ said Chip Hornsby, CEO of Wolseley.

The company has been doubly hit by the U.S. housing market and lower lumber prices. According to Wolseley’s 11-month trading statement with the London Stock Exchange, U.S. prices for lumber have fallen 21 percent and prices for structural panels have fallen 27 percent.

However, the company said while the market for new homes ncontinues to be challenging,i the market for repairs, maintenance and improvement, as well as commercial and industrial sales, have provided opportunities for growth.

Still, while trends in Europe and the U.K. have been positive, nthere are no signs of any upturn in the U.S. housing market, the company said.

Stock’s remaining branch network will comprise 287 branches across 33 states, the parent company said. Wolseley had 2006 sales of more than $25 billion.

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True Value owner inducted into Washington D.C. ‘Hall of Fame’

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Howard Politzer, owner of Brookland True Value in Washington D.C., has received the Business Legacy Award from the Washington D.C. Hall of Fame Society, a group that recognizes members of the city’s business community.

The legacy award recognizes individuals and establishments that have contributed immensely to the growth and development of Washington, D.C. and changed the course of the District’s history. Hall of Fame Society executive board members voted unanimously to make Brookland True Value its first choice in the nbusinessi category, and Politzer was inducted into its Hall of Fame.

Politzer opened his first True Value in 1975 on Capitol Hill, and in 1981 he relocated the store six miles north to the city of Brookland.

Politzer has served as a member of the Brookland Chamber of Commerce, the Center for Community Development, the MayorIs Golden Washington Club, the Brookland Business and Professional Association and the Pennsylvania and Atlantic Seaboard Hardware Association.

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Acquisition of Rinker nears completion

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Rinker Materials, a top distributor of non-lumber building materials in the United States, with $4.5 billion in sales last year, will soon become part of Cemex, North America’s largest cement producer.

Cemex has purchased more than 90 percent of the shares of Rinker Group Ltd., Rinker’s Australian parent company, clearing the way for the cement supplier to acquire the rest of the company without consent.

Cemex, based in Monterrey, Mexico, placed an unsolicited $14 billion bid for all of Rinker’s shares earlier this year. In June it won majority control over Rinker’s board of directors and replaced them with its own appointees. The Rinker acquisition will further increase Cemex’s share of the U.S. concrete market. 

Headquartered in West Palm Beach, Fla., Rinker Materials sells cement, asphalt, pipe, tools, drywall, steel framing and other construction materials. It generates approximately 80 percent of its parent company’s revenues.

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