DALTON, Ga. -¿ As part of the company¿s continuing restructuring initiatives, Beaulieu Residential says it will exit the hard-surface flooring and general distribution business in the West and Southwest United States by returning those facets of its operation to the former shareholders of LDBrinkman.

The agreement covers the transfer of all hard-surface business and operations currently operated by Beaulieu in the nation¿s West and Southwest regions, as well as the buildings, equipment and other assets of Hollytex Carpet Mills in Anadarko and Watonga, Okla.

The transaction also marks the return to the industry of Tom Karol and Levon Ezell. Both are credited for building LDBrinkman into the largest flooring distributor in the country prior to its 1999 acquisition by Beaulieu.

¿Subject to financing and a definitive agreement, a transaction has been reached,¿ said Ralph Boe, president of Beaulieu Residential. ¿We are of the opinion that this is in the best interests of all parties. It will allow Beaulieu to focus on our core carpet business, and put hard-surface distribution back in the hands of the people that built that business before.¿

This announcement follows Beaulieu¿s recent decisions to sell its rug business to Springs Industries, and part of its fiber production to Shaw Industries. Boe said these moves will enhance Beaulieu¿s financial situation and allow the company to focus on its soft-surface business.

¿With the recommitment of our suppliers and customers, and with some significant investment, we can rebuild this business,¿ Ezell said of the newly reborn Brinkman. ¿We will work on winning back customers with the service we were always known for, and add major new initiatives in vinyl, carpet, tools, and sundries.

¿I think the market has missed LD Brinkman and we do not intend to disappoint them,¿ he added.

Although Beaulieu is divesting carpet operations in Oklahoma, it is not transferring the Hollytex name. Instead, Brinkman will market its new line of carpet under the ¿Columbus¿ name.