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Haworth Acquires Groupe Lacasse.

HOLLAND, Mich., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire/ -- Haworth Inc., the second largest office furniture manufacturer worldwide, has agreed to acquire a majority interest in Groupe Lacasse, the leading North American designer and manufacturer of laminate office furniture, located in St. Pie, Quebec. The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals.

The acquisition reinforces Haworth's position as the second largest office furniture company in the world. Haworth's 1999 net sales were US $1.58 billion while Groupe Lacasse reported Canadian sales of $93 million (approximately US $64 million). In addition, Haworth recently announced a proposal to acquire Calgary-based SMED, with 1999 sales of $248 million Canadian.

"The acquisition of Groupe Lacasse strengthens Haworth's commitment to leadership in all segments of the North American office furniture industry," said Jerry Johanneson, Haworth's president and chief executive officer. "The Lacasse and Avenue brands will provide a logical complement to our Haworth, United Chair, Anderson Hickey and Globe brands by allowing us to build our product portfolio of laminate casegoods and systems. Groupe Lacasse has a great reputation for high design, high quality and efficient manufacturing -- making it very attractive to customers in all segments."

"Groupe Lacasse is extremely enthusiastic about joining the Haworth family," said Guy Lacasse, who will continue as president and chief executive, and maintain an ownership interest. "Haworth's financial strength and technical expertise will ensure our continued growth and market leadership. This move will also allow Groupe Lacasse to access Haworth's international network which will open new opportunities for increased sales." The company will operate as a subsidiary of Haworth, and will continue to distribute its Lacasse furniture and Avenue systems through its existing sales organization and dealer network.

The cultures of the two organizations are also complementary. Both are family-owned and approximately 50 years old. "I'm very pleased to welcome Groupe Lacasse members to the Haworth global family. In addition to innovative products, the Groupe Lacasse focus on quality and service puts them in perfect harmony with our values, vision and mission," said Haworth Chairman Richard Haworth.

Final regulatory approval of this transaction is expected to be completed within the next 30 days.

Haworth Inc. is a world-leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of office furniture and seating with 1999 sales of $1.58 billion. Based in Holland, Michigan, Haworth operates in more than 120 countries worldwide and employs 11,000 members.

Groupe Lacasse is a designer and manufacturer of laminate office furniture for contract and middle-market customers, with 1999 sales of $93 million Canadian and 600 members at its St. Pie, Quebec, headquarters.
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Publication:PR Newswire
Geographic Code:1U3MI
Date:Feb 4, 2000
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