Nfld. & Labrador

Chester Dawe sold to Rona

Quebec-based home improvement giant Rona has acquired Chester Dawe Ltd., an institution in the provincial business community.

Quebec-based home improvement giant Rona has acquired Chester Dawe Ltd., an institution in the provincial business community.

Chester Dawe president Phil Budden said he expects no job losses because of the sale.

The company, which had sales of about $80 million last year, employs more than 400 people across its eight construction materials outlets.

"It's business as usual," said Budden, the principal shareholder in the company. Budden said he will be staying with the company as general manager.

Budden said he expects the deal to make Chester Dawe "bigger and better."

Rona (TSX:RON) president Robert Dutton said he wants to capitalize on the success of the Chester Dawe name.

Rona, which has been aggressively moving into other provinces in recent years, is even considering keeping the Chester Dawe identity.

Dutton would not comment on the value of the sale, but said Rona has had its eye on Chester Dawe for some time.

"It gives us a foothold on the Rock," he said.

"It gives us the critical mass we need in Newfoundland to effectively serve this market."

Founded in 1939, Rona is now the largest home hardware company in Canada. Its network includes about 580 stores and had sales in 2005 of about $5 billion.

Chester Dawe, who founded his business in 1945, died in 2002 at the age of 98.

The Dawe family had already sold its interests in the company.

Budden, who started with Chester Dawe Ltd. in 1975 as a business co-op student, said the deal was inevitable with the pressures in the industry.

The transition will begin in two weeks.

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