DANVILLE, Va. -- Columbia Flooring has entered into an agreement to sell its Thomasville, N. C., laminate manufacturing facility to Unilin Industries NV of Belgium. The transaction is expected to close during the third quarter of this year.

At the same time, Columbia and Unilin will begin a long-term supply agreement whereby Unilin will manufacture Columbia’s existing glued and glueless laminate product offerings and also develop an exclusive Columbia Clic collection for launch at Surfaces 2002.

For its part, Unilin said it intends to develop a full “Made in America” manufacturing program for its Quick-Step and Uniclic laminate products. The company recently signed distribution agreements with Cole Wholesale Flooring of New Hope, Minn.; Wadesboro, N.C.-based CMH Flooring Products; Maryland Heights, Mo.-based DSI Distribution Services; NRF Distributors of Augusta, Me.; Tri-West of Santa Fe Springs, Calif.; Sea Pac Sales of Kent, Wash.; and San Francisco-based B.R. Funston & Co.

"The sale is a win-win situation for both companies and their customers," David Wootton, Columbia president, said. "The laminate market in North America is changing. With the introduction of glueless laminate, glued products are even more quickly becoming a low-priced, low-margin commodity. As a fully integrated, high-volume manufacturer, Unilin is able to deliver product at a price point we cannot match if we continue to manufacture the product ourselves."

Wootton also said that his company’s strength “lies in its ability to service the channels to market and bundle the products with its core hardwood flooring products.”

In concert with these developments, Columbia has relocated its headquarters to Danville, Va., the home of its engineered flooring manufacturing plant. The company said it will soon begin conversion of an adjacent company-owned facility approximately 80,000 square feet in size to provide a central warehouse and a sales and administration facility for Columbia’s entire line of hardwood and laminate products.