February 13, 2007 - Modern Distribution Management

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February 13, 2007

Report: Buyout Firms Have Approached Home Depot

The New York Times reported today that some of the country's biggest buyout firms have approached Home Depot CEO Frank Blake - put in place after Robert Nardelli resigned&nbsp ; - with proposals to buy $12 billion HD Supply.

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The Times says analysts expect HD could sell the fast-growing division for $9 billion.

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The article goes on to discuss HD Supply's profit margins as slimmer than retail, and HD's need to find a way to grow the retail side of the company. Synergies between wholesale and retail have yet to be realized, according to the piece.

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Home Depot announced Monday that it was considering strategic alternatives for HD Supply, including a possible sale, spin off or initial public offering.

New ...

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BlueLinx Sales Down 12.9% in 2006

BlueLinx Holdings Inc., Atlanta, GA, distributor of building products, reported sales of $4.9 billion, down 12.9% from $5.62 billion a year ago, reflecting lower structural product prices and unit volume. Profit was $15.8 million, compared with $44.6 million a year ago.

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CEO Stephen Macadam said:&nbsp ; As a distributor of building products, we continued to experience a sharp drop in demand that began earlier in the year as housing starts continued their slowdown and prices for wood-based structural products remained sharply below year-ago levels. The fall-off in demand was exacerbated by ongoing inventory reductions throughout the supply chain, and by the normal seasonal business slowdown associated with the winter months.

Macadam said ...

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Ferguson Acquires Grif-Fab

Ferguson has acquired Grif-Fab Corporation, a distributor and fabricator of fire protection systems with three locations in Colorado, Arizona and New Mexico. In the year ended Nov. 30, 2006, Grif-Fab had revenue of $28.3 million.

UK-based Wolseley plc, Ferguson's parent company, has recently made three other bolt-on acquisitions in addition to the Grif-Fab buy. The four in total will add 29 million pounds, or $37.7 million, to annual revenues.

Since Aug. 1, 2006, Wolseley has made 33 acquisitions in Europe and North America totaling 342 million pounds, or $458 million.

More Breaking ...

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Watsco Sales Grow 7% in 2006

Watsco, Inc., distributor of air conditioning and heating products, reported sales of $1.8 billion in 2006, a 7% increase from 2005. Profit was $82.4 million.

Fourth-quarter sales were $388 million.

&nbsp ; “2006 was one of enormous change as virtually half the products we sell were transitioned to new families of higher-efficiency products. We expect these new products to provide a unique and sustainable sales opportunity for us given consumers' high degree of sensitivity and focus on energy costs, President and CEO Albert H. Nahmad said.

The Watsco network expanded by 28 locations in 2006, including locations opened to enhance local service and locations acquired adding new customers, products and market share. Revenues contributed by new ...

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