B&D to introduce midpriced power tools New line part of global expansion

April 28, 1993|By Kim Clark | Kim Clark,Staff Writer

In its drive to dominate the power tool market worldwide, Black & Decker Corp. will introduce a line of midpriced power tools in the United States this summer, company Chairman Nolan D. Archibald announced yesterday.

The new line of electric drills, saws and other tools will be called "Black & Decker Quantum" and will be priced between Black & Decker's lowest-end line, which usually starts at about $30 a tool, and the company's new DeWalt line of professional-quality tools, in which drills can cost about $120.

The move is a part of a wide-ranging expansion of Black & Decker's tool and hardware line announced by Mr. Archibald at yesterday's corporate annual meeting.

For example, the Towson-based company, which is the leading dTC power-tool maker in the world, introduced a line of high-priced power tools in Europe last month under the company's Elu brand, he said.

Elu is already known in Europe for fine woodworking tools, and the new line will expand the line into industrial and construction tools that meet higher standards than the DeWalt professional tools sold in the United States, said company spokeswoman Barbara Lucas.

In addition, Black & Decker has started marketing a midpriced line of locks, called Titan, to upgrade its Kwikset lower-end line. Kwikset is the nation's biggest lock maker.

And the company's Price Pfister plumbing division is set to launch a lower-cost line of faucets to expand beyond that brand's market-leading position in the high-end market.

Mr. Archibald said the company planned to keep adding products for its hardware, home products and tool lines to increase long-term profits, even though the expenses of researching and marketing new lines hurts short-term profits.

He said he was dissatisfied with the company's recent earnings and would continue looking for ways to cut costs to improve profitability.

For example, he said Black & Decker would shut down a Dynapert electronics equipment factory in Colchester, England, and restructurethe division because it has been losing money.

Black & Decker took a $91 million charge to account for the shutdown and restructuring last year. The company hopes to sell the division, which was acquired as a part of the $2.65 billion purchase of the Emhart Corp. in 1989.

The company reported Monday that it earned $13.9 million on revenues of $1.1 billion in its first fiscal quarter.

The moves were praised by industry analysts yesterday, who predicted that "Quantum" would win support from consumers.

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