Bain buys American Standard''s bath and kitchenware division

American Standard Cos has agreed to sell its bath and kitchen products division to Bain Capital LLC for about $1.8 billion in cash. The bath and kitchen unit makes bathtubs, urinals, faucets, showers, sinks and kitchen accessories, under the Porcher, Jado, Vidima and Ideal Standard brands.

It accounted for $2.4 billion in sales — about 22 per cent of American Standard''s total sales, and has 26,000 employees. However, revenues have been on the decline for years, and the unit made a net loss of $18 million last year.

Boston-based private investment firm Bain will close the deal in the fourth quarter of this year. American Standard, based at Piscataway, New Jersey, said it plans to use the sale proceeds to repurchase common stock and reduce debt. Bank of America NA and Credit Suisse Group are providing Bain with debt financing for the buyout.

No job cuts or management changes are expected at the bath and kitchen division, an American Standard spokesman said. American Standard shares closed up one quarter of a per cent at $59.40.

American Standard had announced in February 2007 that it would split into three businesses, selling its bath and kitchen division and spinning off its vehicle control systems unit.

This deal is the final step in the plan. After the bath and kitchen business is sold, the company will retain only its air conditioning business and call itself Trane, after its strongest brand in that sector. Air conditioning brought in $6.8 billion of sales last year, accounting for 60 per cent of the company''s revenue and 77 per cent of profits.