Nov. 12 (Bloomberg) -- Sherwin-Williams Co., the largest U.S. paint retailer, agreed to acquire closely held Consorcio Comex SA de CV for about $2.34 billion including debt to gain Mexico’s largest paint maker as housing demand improves. The shares rose the most in more than a year.

Sherwin-Williams will fund the all-cash deal by selling $2 billion in 5-, 10- and 30-year bonds, the Cleveland-based company said in a presentation today on its website. It didn’t specify how much debt it’s assuming. The acquisition would be the biggest takeover in Mexico by a U.S. company since 2004, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Sherwin-Williams Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Christopher M. Connor is adding to the company’s 3,500 North American stores after an improving North American housing market led to record earnings in the third quarter. Comex, which has exclusive sales to 3,300 paint stores in Mexico, generated two- thirds of its $1.4 billion of revenue last year in Latin America, Sherwin-Williams said in the presentation.
Comex also sells to almost 1,600 stores in Canada and it operates 240 stores in the U.S. It has more than 7,200 employees and it operates eight factories in Mexico, five in the U.S. and three in Canada, according to a statement today.

It’s the largest paint maker in Mexico, said Jorge Quintana, an outside Comex spokesman with Fleishman-Hillard. The acquisition of the Mexico City-based company will double Sherwin-Williams sales in Latin America, the company said.

Comex is the leading paint brand in Mexico, selling through 750 concessionaires who carry no other brand in the 1 to 100 stores operated by each, Sherwin-Williams said. Comex’s Canadian brand is General Paint and its U.S. brands are Color Wheel, Kwal, Frazee and Parker.

Sales of existing homes in Mexico are improving faster than new homes, Carlos Hermosillo, an analyst covering builders for Grupo Financiero Banorte SAB, said in a telephone interview from Mexico City. The outlook for paint sales is positive because of increased remodeling of existing homes, he said.

“People are investing in rehabilitating used homes and there’s a generalized increase in purchasing power,” Hermosillo said. “That makes an investment in this sector very interesting.”

U.S. sales of new homes rose to an annual pace of 389,000 in September, the highest since April 2010, the Commerce Department reported on Oct. 24. Housing starts surged 15 percent in September to an annual pace of 872,000, the fastest pace since July 2008.




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