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11 Retail and Wholesale Stores : Western Lumber Sold to Kuwaiti Firm

December 18, 1987|GREG JOHNSON | Times Staff Writer

NATIONAL CITY — Western Lumber Co., which operates 11 retail and wholesale building supply stores in San Diego and Riverside counties, has been sold for about $40 million to Georgetown Industries, a company based in Charlotte, N.C., that is owned primarily by the government of Kuwait, the companies said Wednesday.

Western, which has headquarters here, will report about $125 million in 1987 revenue. The company had been owned by a management group and McCown DeLeeuw & Co., a private venture-capital firm with offices in Palo Alto and New York City.

The Kuwaiti government owns more than 90% of Georgetown Industries, Georgetown President Roger Regelbruggesaid this week. The Kuwaitis acquired partial ownership of Georgetown in 1976 and became the company's majority shareholder in 1983, Regelbrugge said.

McCown DeLeeuw bought a majority interest in Western in 1985, when Boise Cascade Corp. spun off the retail and wholesale operation for an estimated $25 million. The deal was evidently initiated by William Miller, former U.S. secretary of the Treasury, who is a member of Georgetown's board of directors.

Georgetown, which expects to report about $500 million in 1987 revenue, also owns a steel wire rod company in Charlotte, N.C., and the Waccamaw specialty retailing chain that has 12 stores, primarily in the Southeast. Over the last several years, Georgetown shut down some of its steel operations and began diversifying into retail businesses, Regelbrugge said.

Western operates 10 retail building supply centers in Southern California and one wholesale lumber and building supply store in National City. The stores had been known as "Westy's," but the name recently was changed to Western Lumber Co.

Western recently expanded from seven locations to 11 storefronts, with the acquisition of "Lumber One," a four-store building supply retail chain in San Diego County. However, one Western store in Spring Valley will be closed during the next month, a Western spokesman said.

Regelbrugge described Western, which was established in 1904, as "having stood the test of time. (Georgetown will) bring financial strength to the company and . . . (help) its opportunities to expand."

Western's existing management team, including President Allen Quimby, will remain in place, according to Regelbrugge. Before becoming president of Western Lumber Co. in 1985, Quimby, 49, was an executive with Boise Cascade.

Quimby was one of the Boise Cascade managers who, along with McCown DeLeeuw & Co. acquired seven of Boise Cascade's Southern California stores through a leveraged buyout.

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