In brief: Masco’s tough Q4

Masco CEO Timothy Wadhams had his work cut out for him on Feb. 15. That’s when he had to lead the discussion of his company’s fourth-quarter and full-year earnings results — including a fourth-quarter net loss attributable to Masco Corp. of $1.034 billion.

That massive figure, one of the biggest to appear in the home channel, included good will and other intangible impairment of $721 million. But still. 

Wadhams didn’t sugar coat the news. Out of the box he dove into sales, down 9.0% in the fourth quarter. He volunteered — even before the Q&A — the fact that sales to key retailers were off in the mid-teen percentage range. Masco’s particularly hard-hit cabinet business was down 29% in the fourth quarter. 

But there were some positives — including $500 million in fixed-cost reductions realized at the end of 2010. Bright innovations include Arrow’s R.E.D. line, the Watkins Ace Sanitizer and the ProCision countertop solution.

“We continue to be very optimistic about the longer term,” he said. “Household formations, population growth, the age of the housing stock — all of those are positives, we think, for our business.”