Apogee to sell retail auto glass replacement unit

Glass maker Apogee Enterprises Inc. APOG.O said on Wednesday it is in talks to sell its retail auto replacement glass business, Harmon AutoGlass, so it can focus on its architectural operation, which makes windows for high-rise buildings.

Minneapolis-based Apogee expects to incur an after-tax charge of $6 million to $10 million, or about 22 cents to 36 cents a share, in fiscal year 2004 to exit the auto glass business.It said it would record $4 million to $6 million of the charge in the second quarter, ended Aug. 30, because of a reduction of the carrying value of Harmon.

Apogee also said it expects second-quarter profits to be slightly less than its earlier guidance of 14 cents to 18 cents a share.

Apogee, which will continue to make windshields through its 34 percent stake in PPG Auto Glass, hired Lazard to help sell Harmon. A deal is seen closing by Feb. 28, 2004.

"Apogee's roots are in the retail auto glass business, which made significant contributions to the company in past years," Apogee Chief Executive Russell Huffer said. "But with the changes in market conditions, we believe Harmon AutoGlass is no longer a strategic fit for Apogee."

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