Fortune Brands Posts 'Strong' Year

DEERFIELD, IL — Fortune Brands, the Deerfield, IL-based company with wide-ranging interests in the kitchen and bath industry, today reported “strong” results from continuing operations for the fourth quarter and full year 2005.

The publicly traded Fortune Brands said that net sales were $7.06 billion, up 15% from the previous year. Net income for 2005 was $621.1 million, compared to $783.8 million in 2004. However, corporate officials pointed out that comparisons for the year were adversely impacted by substantial tax-related credits recorded in 2004 and the absence of income due to a spinoff of an office products business.

“Fortune Brands begins 2006 a stronger company than a year ago,” CEO Norm Wesley said. “Our investments in our consumer brands paid off in another year of strong top-line growth. We delivered again on our earnings growth goals, and we sharpened the focus of our portfolio.

“As a more sharply focused, high-performance consumer brands company, we look to 2006 with confidence,” Wesley added. “Our new product pipeline is fully loaded, we’ll continue investing behind our brands and we’ll continue seizing growth opportunities in new markets.”

Fortune Brands also announced a definitive agreement to acquire the Parkersburg, WV-based SBR, Inc. and its brands in the markets for vinyl-framed windows and composite millwork. The largest brand of SBR is Simonton Windows, a leader in the replacement window category.

The acquisition also includes Fypon, the leading brand in the urethane millwork market; Dixie-Pacific and Hartmann-Sanders, leading brands of architectural columns and porch railings, and Hy-Lite, the leading brand of acrylic block windows.

The acquired brands will join the Home & Hardware business of Fortune Brands, which includes Moen and MasterBrand Cabinets (a unit that includes Aristokraft, Omega, Diamond and Schrock).

Fortune Brands’ home and hardware brands generated more than $4 billion in sales in 2005, according to the company.