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UNITED WESTBURNE ANNOUNCES DECISION TO SELL ITS MEMPHIS DIVISION AND OTHER RESTRUCTURING MEASURES

 UNITED WESTBURNE ANNOUNCES DECISION TO SELL ITS
 MEMPHIS DIVISION AND OTHER RESTRUCTURING MEASURES
 MONTREAL, Jan. 15 /PRNewswire/ - United Westburne Inc. (Montreal Stock Exchange and Toronto Stock Exchange: UWB) announced today that negotiations are underway to sell its 14-branch Memphis, Tenn. Division, a wholesale distributor of plumbing and heating supplies which employs some 200 persons in the southeastern United States. The Memphis Division, acquired by Westburne in 1979, was the company's first venture into the United States and accounts for approximately CDN$75 million in annual revenues.
 Michel Vennat, United Westburne chief executive officer, said the move in consistent with the company's decision to focus on other areas of higher profitability in the United States.
 "The Memphis outlets will probably be sold separately or in groups before the end of the first quarter of 1992," Vennat said. "Although the sale prices have yet to be finalized, an after-tax provision of approximately CDN$15 million for discontinued operations will be recorded in the 1991 financial statements. This division has been underperforming for many years and has been a drain on operating results." Vennat added.
 In addition, the company announced that in order to cope with the depressed sales level experienced in the last quarter, reflecting poor North-American business conditions, it took major restructuring actions which will lead to improved service and productivity. As a result the company incurred one-time after-tax restructuring charges of approximately CDN$5 million in 1991.
 Financial results will be published after the Feb. 25 board meeting. It appears that continuing operations will likely show a small loss for 1991 in addition to the provision and charges mentioned above.
 United Westburne Inc. is North America's largest integrated wholesale distributor of electrical, plumbing and heating, refrigeration and air conditioning, electronics and telecommunication supplies. Headquartered in Montreal, the company has 391 branches across Canada and 97 branches in 20 states in the United States.
 -0- 1/15/92 R
 /CONTACT: Louis-Gilles Gagnon of United Westburne, 514-342-5181/
 (UWB.) CO: United Westburne Inc. ST: Quebec, Tennessee IN: SU: TNM


SH -- NY025R -- 0156 01/15/92 16:19 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 15, 1992
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