Standex to shed air products group

Standex International Corp. has decided to sell its Air Distribution Products Group, the Salem-based conglomerate announced Monday.The stand-alone division, which sells metal ducts for air conditioning in new and remodeled homes, has been profitable for Standex for nearly 35 years, but thanks to the housing slump it has posted a pre-tax loss of $6.8 million over the last two fiscal years.With $14.8 million in net sales last quarter, it’s also the smallest of the company’s five divisions, though sales have picked up slightly this fiscal year. None of the division’s six manufacturing and distribution locations is in New Hampshire.”As a more commodity-like product, it is not well aligned with our focused diversity strategy of investing in businesses that provide value-added and technically driven customer solutions, which we believe deliver superior returns and shareholder value.,” said CEO Roger Fix.He added that, “with a robust housing recovery well into the future,” the division will remain “dilutive to our overall profit margin and asset returns for an extended time period.” Standex said it is in negotiations with an unidentified prospective buyer for the division. The company also said it expected the sale to be completed in 12 months.Still, it classified the division as a discontinued operation, and took a $14.2 million hit during the last fiscal quarter (its second, ending Dec. 31) thanks to non-cash goodwill, real estate impairment charges and other expected transaction costs, including withdrawal from pension plans.There may be further charges in the third quarter, the company said.Thanks to those charges, the company took a total quarterly loss of $4.1 million, or 32 cents a share, bringing year-to-date net income to $7.8 million, compared to $20 million, for the first half of the last fiscal year.Without the charges, the company would had a quarterly profit of $10.1 million on continued operations, compared to $9.3 million the previous quarter. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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