Arrivals, departures. BlueLinx has hired Dave Heine, the former vp-retail development at Do it Best, as a senior national account executive, where he will call on Do it Best accounts and other independent dealers. Heine left Do it Best after 28 years, serving in a number of positions. West Fraser Timber named Larry Hughes as its new senior vp. Hughes has served as lead legal counsel to West Fraser for the past 10 years, overseeing mergers and acquisitions. Composite decking manufacturer Trex has appointed Anthony Cavanna, its former CEO and current board chairman, as the company’s interim CFO while it conducts a search for a permanent CFO. Winchester, Va.-based Trex manufactures composite decking, railing and fencing. Canfor has announced the resignation of its CFO and vp-finance, Scott Wilson, who will remain in his current roles until a replacement is named.
New market. Toll Brothers will enter the Atlanta Metro market with a 311-unit project in Cherokee County, on approximately 200 acres near downtown Woodstock, Ga. The luxury home builder, headquartered in Horsham, Pa., said it will continue its expansion in the Southeast, where it currently operates communities in Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. It now operates in 22 states.
Gypsum demand. A surge in residential construction in Mexico will help grow the gypsum board market over the next several years, according to a Freedonia Group research report. Gains will benefit from Mexican government initiatives to relieve the nation’s housing deficit, as well as further market penetration of construction methods that utilize gypsum board. Overall, the demand for drywall in North America is projected to grow through 2011 by 3 percent per year to $6 billion.
Lowered outlook. Fitch Ratings lowered its forecast of total U.S. housing starts for 2007 to 1.30 million, down from 1.46 million in the beginning of the summer, based on a “more severe and longer lasting” downturn than previously anticipated. Compared to 2006, the revised number of housing starts is a 27.8 percent decline. The global rating agency also issued a negative outlook for most publicly held U.S. home builders, including Centex, D.R. Horton, Hovnanian, KB Home, Lennar, M/I Homes, MDC Holdings, Meritage Homes, Ryland, Standard Pacific, Pulte, Tousa Homes and Toll Brothers. The only exception was NVR, a Reston, Va., home builder and mortgage banker, which received a “stable” rating.
Lone Star acquisition. Bismarck, N.D.-based MDU Resources has purchased Quality Concrete & Materials, a Beaumont, Texas, company with annual revenues of $50 million. Quality Concrete, which operates 10 ready mix concrete plants, two materials distribution yards and three pug mills in southeast and central Texas, will become part of Knife River Corp., the construction materials and mining subsidiary of MDU Resources.