Weyerhaeuser posts $171 million profit

Weyerhaeuser Co. has reported net earnings of $171 million for its fourth quarter of 2010, compared with a loss of $175 million in the same quarter a year ago. Earnings for the quarter include after-tax gains of $119 million from special items. Excluding those items, Weyerhaeuser reported net earnings of $52 million.

Net sales for the forestry company were $1.66 billion, compared with sales of $1.45 billion in the fourth quarter of 2009.

For the full year of 2010, Weyerhaeuser reported net earnings of $1.28 billion on net sales of $6.6 billion. This compares with a net loss of $545 million on net sales of $5.5 billion for the full year of 2009. Earnings for the full year of 2010 included $1.06 billion from income tax adjustments related to Weyerhaeuser's conversion to a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT).

In its wood products division, sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $572 million, compared with $510 million a year ago. The segment's results before special items improved $15 million compared with the third quarter. The fourth quarter included special items of $103 million for asset impairments, closures and restructuring.

In its outlook for the first quarter of 2011, Weyerhaeuser said it anticipates a smaller loss from the segment due to improved operating rates, higher selling prices and continued cost reductions.

In a prepared statement, president and CEO Dan Fulton said: “The record year for our cellulose fibers segment due to strong market conditions and excellent operational performance highlighted our 2010 results. Extremely challenging housing market conditions affected the financial performance of our Timberlands, Wood Products and Real Estate segments. We anticipate these market challenges will continue in 2011. However, I expect better performance due to ongoing operational improvements, which will create cost efficiencies and enhance the relative competitiveness of our businesses."

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