Fortune Brands Acquires The Omega Group

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..