Year-end numbers take a dip at Plum Creek

Plum Creek Timber Co. has announced revenues of $315 million for its fourth quarter, an 11.5% decrease over revenues of $356 million for the same quarter of 2010. Net earnings for the quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2010, were $61 million, compared to $59 million a year old.

In year-end figures, Plum Creek reported revenues of $1.16 billion for fiscal 2011, a 2.5% decrease over $1.19 billion in 2010. Net income for the Seattle-based company was $193 million, compared to $213 million for fiscal 2010.

The company generated $275 million in operating income for 2011, a decline of $22 million from 2010’s $297 million operating income. The change was driven by a $22 million decline in operating profit from the company’s timber resource segments. Stronger export demand for west coast logs served to improve profitability in the Northern Resources segment by $11 million. This was offset by a decline in Southern log prices when unusually dry weather in 2011 caused a temporary expansion of log supplies. Operating profit in the Southern Resources segment declined $33 million.

The company’s harvest level of 15.8 million tons was approximately 2 percent higher than the 2010 harvest of 15.4 million tons. In the North, the total harvest was unchanged. Lower pulpwood harvests in the Northeast were offset by higher sawlog harvests in Oregon where the company responded to growing export demand. As a result, the Northern Resources segment sawlog harvest was 200,000 tons higher than 2010 and sawlog prices averaged approximately 10% higher. In the South, the company increased its pulpwood harvest 375,000 tons, nearly 6%, to capture relatively attractive pulpwood prices while modestly reducing its sawlog harvest.

“Plum Creek posted another good year in 2011,” said Rick Holley, president and CEO. “Once again, our unmatched geographic diversity helped us manage the business for long-term value despite some challenging market conditions. Income from continuing operations declined from our 2010 level as improved profitability in our Northern Resources segment offset some of the impact from lower log prices in the South. During the past year we acquired 60,000 acres of productive timberland and repurchased $25 million of common stock at very attractive prices.”

 “While we are not anticipating a significant rebound in the economy or housing in 2012, we do expect our cash flow to grow in 2012,” Holley continued. Timber resource segments will be the main contributor, he added.

Plum Creek is one of the largest and most geographically diverse private landowners in the nation with approximately 6.6 million acres of timberlands in major timber producing regions of the United States and wood products manufacturing facilities in the Northwest.


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