Towson-based toolmaker Black & Decker Corp. said yesterday that it has sold its Mallory Controls North American business and a large vacant building and land in France to two buyers for a total of about $100 million.
Mallory -- an Indianapolis manufacturer of controls and timers for major appliances -- was sold to Emerson Electric Co. in a deal valued at $80 million. Black & Decker has now sold eight units of Emhart Corp., which it took over in mid-1989, for about $800 million.
B&D sold its real estate in France to North Carolina-based Ivry Industries N.C. for $20 million.
The moves are the latest in Black & Decker's continuing effort to pay down the $2.65 billion in debt it amassed with the takeover of Emhart by selling off several pieces of the Connecticut-based company that don't fit B&D's corporate strategy.
Analysts praised the sales yesterday, saying they bring the company, which has more than 2,000 employees in Maryland alone, closer to recovering from its heavy debt load.
"Every little bit they can put in the bank helps," said Argus Research analyst Cornelius V. Sewell. "I sense they will get through this difficult period."
Black & Decker's stock closed up 50 cents at $9.375 a share yesterday on the New York Stock Exchange.
B&D completed its sale of GardenAmerica this month for $40 million, about $44 million less than it paid to acquire the company two years ago.
B&D spokeswoman Barbara Lucas said the sales will enabl Black & Decker to meet its March debt payment of $250 million and its June debt payment of $50 million. After that, the pace of loan payments will taper off, she said.
"We are testing the market for the sale of some additional non-essential businesses, but we have not identified them as yet," she said.
It was announced previously that the Brazilian arm of Mallory was also up for sale.