On The Block

For buyout firms still willing to invest in the building products market, this one’s for you. Quanex Corp. (NYSE:NX), a manufacturer of products including steel automotive components and aluminum housings for home windows, is considering a possible sale of its building products group. The unit counts for more than half of the company’s total $2 billion in annual sales. For the year ended Oct. 31, 2006, the building products group generated net sales of approximately $1.1 billion and operating income of approximately $135 million. Quanex’s board of directors is being advised by Lazard Ltd.

In other building-related news, Ingersoll-Rand Co. Ltd. (NYSE:IR) appears willing to sell off its Bobcat and construction-related businesses. The move comes as Ingersoll-Rand attempts to distance itself from the “capital-intense, heavy-machinery profile of the company’s past” and toward a more diversified future with platforms consisting of climate control, industrial and security businesses, according to a companty statement. In 2006 the Bobcat and construction-related businesses generated about $2.6 billion in revenue. Firms that have historically expressed interest in this sector include The Carlyle Group, Diamond Castle Holdings, Norwest Equity Partners and Odyssey Investment Partners.

Firms interested in Canadian suds may want to take a look at Waterloo, Ontario-based Brick Brewing Co. Ltd. (TSX:BRB). The company announced earlier this month that it is exploring strategic alternatives, including the sale of shares or assets of the company. CIBC World Markets is advising Brick Brewing. For fiscal 2007, the company reported net revenue growth of 16.5 percent to C$34.8 million ($31.5 million) from C$29.9 million the year before. Profit, however, dropped to C$1 million, down from about C$1.7 million the year before, due primarily to increased advertising spending and a one-time expenditure to launch a new product, the company said.

Back in the United States, Republic Property Trust (NYSE:RPB), a Herndon, Va.-based REIT, said it was considering a possible sale of the company. Republic Property’s portfolio is focused in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan market. As of March 31, the firm owned 13 commercial properties consisting of about 2.4 million rentable square feet. For the first three months of 2007, the firm reported a loss of $3 million on revenue of $18 million. In 2006, the company lost nearly $20 million on $35 million in revenue. Since announcing a possible sale, Republic Property Trust’s market capitalization has risen to $324 million.