FAIRLAWN, Ohio, Dec. 13, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- OMNOVA Solutions (NYSE: OMN) today announced that it has sold certain assets of its North American commercial wallcovering business to J. Josephson, Inc., a private commercial wallcovering producer based in New Jersey. The sale includes printing cylinders, certain equipment, trademarks, contracts and other assets associated with OMNOVA's domestically-produced commercial wallcovering brands. The sale excludes OMNOVA's Columbus, Mississippi manufacturing facility. OMNOVA's North American wallcoverings, with approximately $29 million in sales, are sold through distributors into various commercial markets including hospitality, corporate office, healthcare, retail and education. Under the agreement, OMNOVA will continue to manufacture commercial wallcovering products for J. Josephson for a period of approximately 12 to 15 months as part of an orderly transition of production from OMNOVA's Columbus, Mississippi plant to the J. Josephson plant in South Hackensack, New Jersey. "The sale of these commercial wallcovering assets will allow OMNOVA Solutions to focus resources on our Performance Chemicals business, where in the last year we made a strategically important acquisition to expand our global position, as well as those product lines within our Decorative Products portfolio that offer greater global growth potential, including coated fabrics, performance films, laminates, digitally printed wall murals and laminated wall surfaces for the ICS (interior construction systems) market," said Kevin McMullen, OMNOVA Solutions' Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "The North American commercial wallcovering market has experienced a prolonged weakness in demand, exacerbated by the multi-year downturn in construction, and is down 50-60% from pre-recession highs," McMullen explained. "It was clear that consolidation was necessary for the long-term vitality of the commercial wallcovering industry." Concurrent with the transfer of commercial wallcovering production to J. Josephson, OMNOVA will consolidate manufacturing of coated fabric, film, ICS and specialty products made at its Columbus, Mississippi plant into its other domestic and international Decorative Products facilities. Following the 12 to 15 month transition, OMNOVA plans to cease manufacturing in Columbus, but the Company will continue its Decorative Products distribution operations at the site, including customer service and technical support. "While our presence in Columbus will be reduced, we are pleased that our distribution operations and our ties with the community will continue. Columbus has been an important part of the OMNOVA story since the plant first opened in 1963, and we value the long-standing local government and community support," said McMullen. "At the same time, we regret the impact the gradual transition of manufacturing out of Columbus will have on many of our employees who have done an exceptional job of staying focused on serving customers during a very difficult and challenging period. We are very appreciative of our employees' many contributions, and we will continue to assist and support our workers throughout the transition. Under key terms of the transaction, OMNOVA will receive approximately $10 million in cash and three years of royalty payments for future sales of OMNOVA-based patterns. In addition, OMNOVA will retain approximately $7 million in net working capital and the cash flow associated with those assets. This will be partially offset by Columbus plant transition and manufacturing wind-down costs over the next 12 to 15 months. This press release includes "forward-looking statements" as defined by federal securities laws. These statements, as well as any verbal statements by the Company in connection with this press release, are intended to qualify for the protections afforded forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements reflect management's current expectation, judgment, belief, assumption, estimate or forecast about future events, circumstances or results and may address business conditions and prospects, strategy, capital structure, sales, profits, earnings, markets, products, technology, operations, customers, raw materials, financial condition, and accounting policies, among other matters. Words such as, but not limited to, "will," "may," "should," "projects," "forecasts," "seeks," "believes," "expects," "anticipates," "estimates," "intends," "plans," "targets," "optimistic," "likely," "would," "could," and similar expressions or phrases identify forward-looking statements.
Jefferies analysts note that recent construction spending data indicates a cycle rotation away from construction-exposed names and toward industrial- and durable goods-levered firms could be playing out.