Fortune Brands buys window maker SBR for $630 million


Monday, February 13th 2006, 2:43 pm
By: News On 6


DEERFIELD, Ill. (AP) _ Fortune Brands Inc., maker of Jim Beam bourbon, Moen faucets, Master Lock padlocks and Titleist golf gear, said Friday it has agreed buy West Virginia window maker SBR Inc. for about $630 million in stock and debt.

Fortune said acquiring SBR would allow it to capitalize on the high-margin market for vinyl-framed windows and beef up its home and hardware business.

SBR's largest brand, Simonton Windows, is a major seller of vinyl-framed windows, the biggest seller of vinyl hurricane-resistant windows and a leader in the replacement window category, Fortune said.

The Parkersburg, W.Va.-based SBR operates 12 manufacturing plants in the United States and one in China and generates about $565 million in annual revenue. SBR was founded by Sam Ross in 1972 as a privately-held holding company.

The merger is not expected to result in layoff or plant closings at SBR companies.

``We're exceptionally pleased that this merger is designed to keep all our employees working and every one of our facilities operating,'' said Ross. ``We have a strong bond with many communities throughout the country where our operations play an important role in local economies.

``The acquisition of SBR by Fortune Brands will help strengthen our commitment to operating in these geographical areas,'' he said.

Fortune, which recently moved its corporate headquarters to Deerfield from nearby Lincolnshire, Ill., forecast the acquisition would bolster earnings between 6 to 8 cents per share in the first 12 months and more in following years. The stock portion of the purchase price will comprise between 60 percent to 70 percent of the total purchase price, Fortune said.

The company expects the acquisition to close in the next few months, pending customary closing conditions and regulatory approval.