Lamson & Sessions said its board of directors has authorized the company's management and financial advisors to explore strategic and financial alternatives to enhance shareholder value.

These alternatives include, but are not limited to, a sale of certain assets or the entire company, formation of joint ventures, a change to the company's capital structure and continued implementation of Lamson & Sessions' current strategic business plan, the company said.

Lamson & Sessions has been hurt by weakness in the residential construction market. Last month, a large shareholder, New York-based Ramius Capital Group LLC, which owns 9 percent of Lamson & Session stock, urged Lamson & Sessions to consider selling its plastic pipe business or the entire company.

The company has retained Perella Weinberg Partners as financial advisor in this evaluation process.

Separately, Lamson & Sessions said fourth-quarter earnings fell sharply as a slowdown in residential construction hurt demand. Net profit dropped to $4 million from $14.6 million in the same quarter a year ago. Sales fell 20 percent to $115.3 million from $143.3 million a year ago.

“The sales and earnings declines in the fourth quarter occurred primarily because of weakness in the residential construction market and an industrywide inventory reduction affecting the company's PVC Pipe business segment,” the company said in a statement.

For the year, sales climbed 14 percent in 2006 to $561.3 million, up from $494.2 million a year earlier.