Tough Third Quarter for BMHC, Builders FirstSource

The building slump continues to hurt sales for two of the LBM industry’s top players, as Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC) and Builders FirstSource both released disappointing third-quarter results on Oct. 25.

BMHC reported $618 million in third-quarter sales, a drop of 24 percent from $818 million in the same quarter last year. The nation’s fourth largest pro dealer posted $4.2 million in net income from the third quarter, which ended on Sept. 30. This compares to $35.3 million in the third quarter of 2006.

Income from discontinued operations included a gain of $3.1 million from the sale of three BMC West yards in Colorado in September 2007.

“We’re facing one of the most challenging business environments the home-building industry has experienced in decades,” said Rob Mellor, BMHC’s chairman, president and CEO, during a conference call with analysts. Single-family starts declined 31 percent in September, he pointed out. “Even permits and starts for multi-family homes were down sharply in September,” he added.

SelectBuild, the San Francisco company’s construction services division, was particularly hard hit by building permit drops. With key markets of California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida, SelectBuild showed a 32 percent slide in sales during the past quarter, to $299 million from $438 million in the third quarter of 2006.

Q3 Net income
$4.2 million
Down 88 percent
Q3 Sales
$618 million
Down 24 percent

BMC West, the company’s distribution arm, posted sales of $319.7 million, a decrease of 16 percent from $379.7 million in the same quarter of 2006. Income dropped 34 percent, from $31.4 million last year to $20.6 million this year.

BMHC executives assured analysts that the company is in compliance with all its credit facilities and that its bankers are not getting nervous. “The banks that we deal with…have a very good perspective on the dynamics of the business,” said senior vp and CFO Bill Smartt. The company continues to aggressively reduce overhead, he said. BMC West reduced payroll, benefits and incentives by $3.9 million, compared to the third quarter of 2006, while SelectBuild reduced the same expenses by $9.2 million.

SelectBuild has reduced its headcount by approximately 5,000 since the middle of last year, according to senior vp and CEO Mike Mahre.

Employee downsizing also came up during the Builders FirstSource earnings conference on Oct. 26, with one analyst expressing concern over “cut[ting] into muscle” with further layoffs.

Builders FirstSource
Q3 Net loss
$11.5 million
Down from $17.3 million gain last year
Q3 Sales
$414 million
Down 27.4 percent

“We continued [headcount reductions] in October, and we will continue on throughout the duration of the correction trying to make appropriate adjustments in our stacking levels,” said Bill Horn, the company’s senior vp and CFO.

Four days later, Builders FirstSource announced that Kevin O’Meara, the company’s president and chief operating officer, was leaving to seek other opportunities. There are no plans to fill his position at this time, according to a prepared statement. [See sidebar]

Builders FirstSource reported sales of $414 million for the third quarter of 2007, a decline of 27.4 percent over revenues of $570 million from the same period a year ago. Ranked sixth on HCN’s Top 350 Pro Dealers list, the Dallas-based company posted a net loss of $11.5 million for the quarter, which ended on Sept. 30. This compares to net income of $17.3 million in 2006.

CEO Floyd Sherman told investors that the company is under continued pressure from builders seeking price concessions “unlike any pressure that I have seen or experienced in over 40 years in the business.” In response, Builders FirstSource is sacrificing its margins in some cases, but only if it sees a strategic advantage “when the market turns,” Sherman said.

The chief executive warned analysts that it could be a long haul. “We generally do not expect recovery until late 2008 or early 2009,” he said.


Kevin O’Meara, president and chief operating officer of Builders FirstSource, has resigned from the company he helped found in 1997. O’Meara’s abrupt departure was announced in a one-paragraph statement released on Oct. 30.

“At this juncture, Kevin feels that it would be mutually beneficial for Kevin and the company for him to seek new corporate leadership opportunities,” the statement said. There are no plans to fill the position at this time, according to the company.

A former consultant with Bain & Co., O’Meara helped found BSL Holdings, which later became Builders FirstSource. After serving as senior vp-operations, O’Meara was promoted to chief operating officer in 2000. He guided the company through numerous acquisitions, culminating in an initial public offering in June of 2005. O’Meara was named president of Builders FirstSource in October 2006.

Login or Register to post a comment.