In a move expected to position Mohawk Industries as the biggest supplier in hardwood flooring, the company has bought the Columbia Flooring brand and is set to acquire four pre-finished plants that together average nearly $180 million in sales. The Columbia Forest Products plants, including sites in Holden, W. Va.; Danville, Va.; Melville, Ark.; and Malaysia, have been Mohawk’s largest suppliers of hardwood. Mohawk said it plans to “support the Columbia brands sold through independent distributors and enhance the product portfolio.”

Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO of Mohawk, outlined plans to increase production at the plants over the next two years. “These are excellent assets which are operating at about half their potential capacity,” he said. “We will invest some additional capital to achieve a low-cost position in the market.”

Lorberbaum also noted that the deal will strengthen Mohawk’s position in a product segment that continues to gain ground. “The acquisition enables us to fully participate in the $2.4 billion wood flooring market which is anticipated to grow at 6 to 8 percent long term,” he said.

The purchase agreement is expected to be finalized in the third quarter of 2007, and is subject to governmental approvals and closing conditions. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.