In May 2012, the FTC issued a proposed decision and order (the “Decision and Order”) which requires Graco to sell the Liquid Finishing business assets, no later than 180 days from the date the order becomes final. The FTC has not yet issued its final Decision and Order. The Company has retained the services of an investment bank to help it market the Liquid Finishing business and identify potential buyers. The sale process is expected to be completed within the 180 days allowed by the Decision and Order.
While it seeks a buyer, Graco must continue to hold the Liquid Finishing business separate from its other businesses and maintain them as viable and competitive. In accordance with the Hold Separate Order, the Liquid Finishing business is managed independently by experienced Liquid Finishing business managers, under the supervision of a trustee appointed by the FTC, who reports directly to the FTC.
Under terms of the Hold Separate Order, the Company does not control the Liquid Finishing business, nor is it able to exert influence over the Liquid Finishing operations. Consequently, the Company’s investment in the Liquid Finishing business has been reflected as a cost-method investment, and its financial results have not been consolidated with those of the Company. Income is recognized based on dividends received from current earnings and is included in other income.
The Liquid Finishing business generated sales of $70 million and EBITDA of $15 million in the third quarter, both of which were increases from the previous quarter and the comparable period in the prior year.Outlook "We are expecting macroeconomic crosscurrents to continue into the fourth quarter, with favorable conditions in the Americas and challenges in China, India and Western Europe," stated McHale. "The investments we have made during the past few years to broaden our geographic coverage and diversify our product portfolio give us opportunities to outperform our end markets, while the nascent housing recovery in the U.S. should be a positive for our Contractor equipment business. We will forge ahead with new product development, expansion of our distribution channel, conversion of end users from manual painting to using equipment, and continue our efforts to expand into adjacent new markets."