By Iris Richmond. Rottlund Delists

The Rottlund Co. successfully completed its second attempt at a self-tender offer to purchase shares of its common stock at a price of $9.15 per share. The increase in the purchase price and the accompanying extension are the outcome of an agreement in principle to settle the shareholder litigation relating to the company's self-tender offer.

Rottlund's original offer of $9 was met with contention by an individual shareholder and as a class action lawsuit. The parties reached a proposed settlement, resulting in the company's approval of a higher price. As of March 6, David Rotter, Bernard Rotter, and certain of their family members owned more than 90 percent of the outstanding shares in the company. On March 22, the company officially became private. The Roseville, Minn., company went public in 1992.

Industry Movers and Shakers

Photo: John Hansel

Isaac Heimbinder Isaac Heimbinder, former president of U.S. Home, has signed on with Kimball Hill Homes in Rolling Meadows, Ill. As vice chairman, he will provide strategic insight into the company's operations. Heimbinder negotiated the acquisitions of U.S. Home by Lennar in 2000, and Homewrite, an Internet startup, by in 2001. Choice Homes names Kenneth Evans its safety and EPA specialist. He will provide assistance concerning safety and health compliance in Choice communities in Texas and Georgia. Prior to joining Choice, Evans held the safety management position at Southwest Airlines.

Frank Tanner joins Choice as land acquisition manager for developments in three Texas markets' Austin, Houston, and San Antonio -- and is responsible for market analysis and feasibility, contract negotiation, and administration of land and lots. Tanner's experience includes 10 years as vice president of operations at Standard Pacific.

Hearthstone Advisors, an institutional investor of residential development, appoints Michael Atkins as vice president and senior investment manager of its western region. Based in Los Angeles, he will oversee and manage its residential investment portfolio.

Personnel changes? E-mail Iris Richmond at:

Smart Selling

Knowledge equals power, or in this case, home sales. The National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals (NAHREP) will offer educational courses starting this winter to instruct real estate agents and mortgage originators on how to work with Hispanic home buyers, as well as how to reduce barriers confronting this group.

Hispanics, who make up about 11 percent of the population, will soon become the nation's largest minority group. Their homeownership rate, at 48.8 percent last year, can increase if they can overcome key barriers.

NAHREP, based in San Diego, has designed curriculum to focus on understanding Hispanic culture, new technologies, and products for first-time buyers. Courses are available through a series of seminars and can be licensed to corporations. Seminars retail for $550 per person. For more information, visit www.nah or call 619-209-4760.

Car Talk Isn't Cheap

Connectivity between jobsites and the office is great, but is the downside increased risk for workers on the road and for their employers? As we all suspected, the answer is yes. New research reveals that talking on a mobile phone while driving is more dangerous than being drunk behind the wheel.

Tests carried out by scientists at the Transport Research Laboratory, in Berkshire, U.K., demonstrated that drivers' reaction times were, on average, 30 percent slower when talking on a hand-held mobile phone compared to being drunk and nearly 50 percent slower than under normal driving conditions. Some states are considering legislation for a total ban on the use of handhelds, which would force employees to wear headsets -- if builders can enforce it.

U.S.-Canadian Ruling

With the U.S. Commerce Department having issued its final ruling on the 20-year U.S.-Canadian conflict over softwood lumber, the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) should complete the final leg of investigative work this month, and determine whether or not to overturn the entire tariff.

Commerce's decision in late March imposes anti-dumping and countervailing duties totaling 29 percent, which is almost a 3 percent decrease from the taxes levied in 2001. As negotiations continue between the two countries, any deals reached would in time cancel all final rulings by the ITC. Canada supplies over a third of the U.S. demand for lumber.