BlueLinx renews FSC COC certification
BlueLinx Corp. has earned a renewal of its Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Chain of Custody (COC) certification from the Rainforest Alliance. The distributor has been FSC COC certified since 2007, and the renewal extends through July 2017.
The FSC COC certification allows BlueLinx to continue to sell FSC COC certified wood products to its customers. BlueLinx can also store and deliver material through its 14 certified distribution centers across the country. The FSC is an independent, non-governmental, not-for-profit organization established to promote the responsible management of the world’s forests. Chain of Custody certification guarantees that wood that is sourced from certified, responsibly managed forestlands is tracked throughout the supply chain.
The Rainforest Alliance is a third-party group that certifies forest products, agriculture and tourism companies, promotes global conservation, sustainability and biodiversity.
Headquartered in Atlanta, BlueLinx is a leading distributor of building products in North America. It operates its distribution business from sales centers in Atlanta and Denver, and a network of approximately 55 distribution centers.
Trade group raises building forecast for 2012
A new forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) nearly doubles the expected increase in cement consumption for the year, attributing the boost to both changes in construction activity and the projected amount of cement used in future projects. Favorable weather conditions during the first half of 2012 was also a key contributor.
PCA revised its spring forecast upward, anticipating a 6.9% increase in 2012 from 2011 levels, followed by a 5.8% jump in 2013 and a double-digit increase of 10.9% increase in 2014.
“In addition to great construction weather during the first half of the year, real put-in-place construction activity is up 4.2% compared to 2011 levels,” said Ed Sullivan, PCA chief economist. “We expect to see a 5.5% gain on real construction activity this year– after seven consecutive years of decline.”
But Sullivan warned that uncertainty will characterize the near-term economic outlook beyond 2012 and inhibit stronger growth conditions from materializing.
For example, as with previous forecasts, job creation is the critical ingredient to recovery and key to healing the structural difficulties that currently face the construction market. An erosion of consumer and business confidence can adversely affect this, Sullivan said. Under current law, increases in taxes and, to a lesser extent, reductions in spending will reduce the federal budget deficit dramatically between 2012 and 2013—a development that some observers have referred to as a “fiscal cliff.”
“If Congress fails to address the ‘fiscal cliff’ issue during the first or second quarter of 2013, there is the potential for severe adverse economic consequences that could slow the recovery process, potentially leading to a severe decline in 2013 cement consumption,” Sullivan said. “PCA’s baseline projections assume a ‘rational’ Congress that will recognize these risks and take action to minimize restraints on economic growth.”
Sales rise 3.3% at BlueLinx
BlueLinx Holdings, the Atlanta-based building materials distributor, reported sales of $517 million for its second fiscal quarter, a 3.3% gain over sales of $500.8 million in the same quarter of 2011. The increase in revenue was attributed to increased underlying product prices for both specialty and structural product categories. Overall unit volume declined 1.3% compared with the same period a year ago as seasonal demand was pulled forward by favorable weather experienced during the first quarter of fiscal 2012, the company said.
BlueLinx reported a net loss of $ 3.7 million for the second quarter, compared with $9.8 million in the same quarter a year ago. Gross margins increased to 12.2% from the 11.5% generated in the year-ago period. These increases reflect the company’s continued focus on margin expansion and rising product prices for many of the products distributed, including key grades of wood-based products, and a shift to the warehouse channel from the direct and reload channels.
Year-to-date, BlueLinx posted revenues of $891.4 million for 2011 and $970.7 million for 2012.
"For the second quarter we grew our revenue, increased our margins and kept our operating expenses flat as we expanded our out-of-warehouse business, producing an improved operating profit of $3.9 million,” said president and CEO George Judd. “This is our first quarterly operating profit since the second quarter of 2010. We expect our operating results to continue to improve as we continue to execute our strategy in a recovering housing market."