Masco Cutting About 8,000 Jobs

The Associated Press
Wednesday, February 14, 2007; 6:03 PM

-- Masco Corp., one of the nation's largest producers of home improvement and building products, expects it will have slashed 8,000 jobs from its U.S. work force, or about 16 percent of the total, by the end of its first quarter, its top executive said Wednesday.

Richard Manoogian, chairman and chief executive officer, made the comment during a teleconference with industry analysts on which he discussed the Yaylor, Mich-based company's report of a big loss for its fourth quarter.

The job cuts began late last year but it was unclear how many remain to be made.

"We expect to do more of that as well as reduce other costs," Manoogian said.

Masco, maker of Delta and Peerless faucets and Behr paints, reported a net loss of $187 million, or 49 cents per share, during the three-month period that ended Dec. 31 compared with a profit of $173 million, or 41 cents per share, during the last quarter of 2005.

Sales dropped 6 percent to $2.95 billion versus the year-ago's $3.13 billion.

The company blamed the decline on a decrease in housing construction and lower spending on "big ticket" home improvement items such as cabinets.

For all of 2006, profit fell by half to $488 million, or $1.22 per share, while sales rose 2 percent to $12.78 billion from $12.57 billion.

Despite record sales during 2006, Manoogian said Masco's sales and profit margins for the year were hurt by a decline in the new home construction market that accelerated during the last six months.

The company derives much of its revenue from sales to homebuilders, who have struggled in the past 18 months as demand for new houses slowed sharply. Housing starts from 2005 to 2006 fell by about 13 percent, to 1.8 million units, he said.

Masco fell 11 cents to close at $31.70 on the New York Stock Exchange.


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