Fortune Brands Acquires The Omega Group

by WOHe

Fortune Brands Acquires The Omega
Group

Lincolnshire, IL Fortune Brands, Inc., the publicly traded
consumer products company with holdings in the cabinet industry,
has announced that its home products business has signed a
definitive agreement to purchase The Omega Group, a growing,
privately held manufacturer of kitchen and bath cabinetry.

Fortune Brands’ kitchen and bath cabinet business MasterBrand
Cabinets, Inc. is the second largest North American cabinet
manufacturer. The group includes Decorá, Aristokraft,
Schrock, Diamond and Kemper. Fortune Brands, whose annual sales
exceed $5 billion, also owns the kitchen and bath faucet
manufacturer Moen, Inc.

The Omega Group’s net sales reached $325 million in 2001,
through the Omega, Kitchen Craft and HomeCrest brands. The Omega
Group, based in Waterloo, IA, operates production facilities in
Waterloo, as well as in Winnipeg and Goshen, IN and Clinton,
TN.

Primarily a supplier of custom, semi-custom and frameless
semi-custom cabinetry to kitchen and bath dealers, The Omega Group
“will enhance MBCI’s ability to compete in the highly fragmented
dealer channel, the industry’s largest channel of distribution,”
according to Fortune Brands’ chairman and CEO Norm Wesley.

“At Fortune Brands, we’re committed to positioning our
businesses for stronger growth and higher returns, and this is
another important step forward that builds on the major strategic
progress we’ve made in our two most profitable businesses Home
& Hardware and Spirits & Wine,” said Wesley. “We like the
demographics and growth opportunities in the kitchen and bath
industry. We’ve more than tripled our cabinet sales since 1997 with
very successful acquisitions Schrock and NHB as well as solid
internal sales growth,” Wesley noted.

The addition of The Omega Group “will enhance our current
cabinet business in three important ways,” observed MasterBrand
Cabinets president Rich Forbes.

“First, we’ll enhance our position across key channels of
distribution. Second, we’ll broaden our product line with Omega’s
core expertise in custom and frameless semi-custom cabinetry, which
complements our strength in semi-custom, stock and frameless
ready-to-assemble cabinets. And third, The Omega Group brings great
people a high-performance management team and an excellent
workforce who will be tremendous contributors to our future growth
together,” he said.

In its other key distribution channels, Fortune Brands’ cabinet
unit has developed new customer business to become a supplier to
nine of the 10 largest North American home builders and a stronger
partner with the three largest home center chains, the company
noted.

Fortune Brands recently disclosed that The Home Depot has
selected MasterBrand Cabinets as the sole supplier for its
exclusive Thomasville line of cabinets, formerly produced by
American Woodmark. The company’s business with The Home Depot will
expand from 600 stores to 1,400 stores. The Omega Group also
markets its cabinetry at Home Depot’s EXPO Design Centers and
Sears’ The Great Indoors..

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