published Friday, November 2nd, 2012

Business Briefs: Astec sells unit for $55 million

Astec sells unit for $55 million

Astec Industries on Thursday agreed to sell its American Augers unit and assets related to the Trencor large trencher product line of Astec Underground to The Charles Machine Works for $55 million in cash.

Chattanooga-based Astec said it expects the sale to the Perry, Okla., business to close before the end of the year. Total revenues of the sold business unit and product line were $42 million for the nine months ended Sept. 30, Astec said.

"We acquired the Trencor operation in 1988 and American Augers in 1999. These businesses have been very cyclical through the years," said J. Don Brock, Astec's chief executive, said in a statement.


Mohawk profits rise 25 percent

Mohawk Industries Inc. boosted its third quarter earnings by 25 percent over a year ago, excluding restructuring charges, to $70 million, or $1.01 per share.

The Calhoun, Ga.-based carpet maker said Thursday that net sales in the most recent three-month period were up 2 percent over a year ago to $1.5 billion.

"All of our segments delivered solid third quarter performances with improvements in product mix, pricing, volume and productivity, as well as lower interest expense contributing to our results," Jeffrey Lorberbaum, Mohawk's chief executive, said in a statement. The profit gains were generally in line with analysts expectations.

Despite the slowdown in Europe, Mohawk said increasing new home construction and improved sales of existing homes in the United States "provide a positive outlook for future flooring growth."


Mortgage rates decline this week

Average U.S. rates on fixed mortgages slipped this week and stayed near record lows, a trend that's helped boost home sales and refinancing.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year mortgage declined to 3.39 percent from 3.41 percent last week. Four weeks ago, the rate touched a record low 3.36 percent. The rate on the 15-year mortgage dipped to 2.70 percent, down from 2.72 percent last week.

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