Braced by strong sales of wood products, Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser Co. reported net earnings of $144 million for the first quarter. This compares with net earnings before special items of $9 million for the same period last year.
Net sales for the first quarter of 2013 rose 33% to $2.0 billion, compared with net sales of $1.5 billion for the first quarter of 2012.
"Our Wood Products business reported its strongest quarterly earnings since 2005, as we effectively leveraged operational improvements in a strengthening housing market," said Dan Fulton, president and CEO.
The Wood Products segement's contribution to earnings soared to $178 million in the first quarter, compared with $38 million the fourth quarter last year.
The company's business segments are timberlands, wood products, fiber and real estate.
Fulton added that the improved performance was matched by an 18% increase to the company's quarterly dividend.
Weyerhaeuser said it expects higher sales volumes across all product lines of its Wood Products segment in the second quarter, offset by slightly lower average selling prices for lumber and oriented strand board and slightly higher raw material costs.