The Genlyte Group--parent company of Vari-Lite and Entertainment Technology--will buy out the 32% stake held by Thomas Industries for $400 million.

In 1998, Thomas combined its lighting business with Genlyte's in order to form GTG. The objectives of this joint venture were to create a premier lighting company, to take advantage of numerous combined growth opportunities, and to realize substantial cost savings upon integration of the businesses. "We believe all of these objectives have been fully realized," said Timothy C. Brown, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Thomas. Revenues have grown from $978.3 million in 1999, the first full year of operation for the LLC, to $1 billion in 2003, while operating income has grown from $88.4 in 1999 to $109.1 million in 2003.

"Thomas' Board of Directors has elected to sell its 32% interest in GTG to Genlyte in order to target its resources on its core pump and compressor business, of which revenues have increased from $177.8 million in 1999 to $376.8 million in 2003," Brown said. "Additionally, the sale of our GTG interest will allow us to focus solely on growing our pump and compressor business and driving shareholder value."

On Monday May 24th, the Genlyte stock was upgraded by Friedman Billings. The stock price has increased $4.00 since the announcement last Thursday.