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Mohawk Buying Unilin

Calhoun, Ga. — Mohawk Industries Inc. is acquiring Unilin Holding NV — a Belgian laminate flooring company — in a move it described as its “second major step” in becoming a total flooring company.

In 2002, Mohawk made its first such move in this direction when it acquired Dal-Tile. That purchase made Mohawk the largest ceramic provider in the country.

The transaction is valued at approximately $2.6 billion, including net cash balances of $33 million. Unilin had annual sales in Belgian GAAP of approximately $1 billion and EBITDA margins in excess of 29 percent.

“Unilin brings to Mohawk a proven knowledge of the European flooring market and unique distribution capabilities through high-end specialty retailers,” said Jeffrey Lorberbaum, Mohawk's chairman and CEO. “Our plan is to continue supporting (its) Quick-Step brand through the existing distribution structure and customer base.

In addition, new brands and products will be introduced to meet the needs of the market. Mohawk can contribute to Unilin's success by offering a U.S. distribution network and the capacity to accelerate market share in the United States.”

The acquisition is expected to close during this year's fourth quarter and is subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. It was unanimously approved by Mohawk's board of directors and Unilin's shareholders.

Lorberbaum added that Unilin's present management will continue to operate it and “will make a significant investment in Mohawk. We intend to nominate Frans De Cock, chairman of Unilin's management board, to the board of Mohawk.”

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