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BMHC sells Colorado yards

BY Brae Canlen

BMC West has pulled out of the western Colorado market, selling its distribution yards in Aspen, Steamboat Springs, and Glenwood Springs to a local dealer with two locations. Harbert Lumber, headquartered in Grand Junction, paid approximately $40 million for the three locations through its affiliate, West Canyon Investments. The transaction includes a lease in Aspen and real estate assets in Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs.

Robert Mellor, BMHC’s chairman, president and CEO, explained that the company is shifting away from retail-oriented operations in favor of value-added products and services, including manufacturing and the installation of millwork and structural components.

“We remain focused on ensuring our operating facilities are optimally located and provide the right range of professionally oriented products and services to drive growth and operating efficiencies,” Mellor said. “In a number of instances, this has entailed a shift away from more retail-oriented operations like those located in Aspen and Steamboat Springs. Strategically, this transaction will allow us to concentrate our efforts and resources on expanding in markets that align with our long-term growth plans.”

Earlier this year, BMHC combined some of its facilities and delivery functions in the Denver metropolitan area. Company CFO Bill Smartt told analysts on July 26 to expect even more consolidation.

“We will take advantage of every opportunity we have to consolidate facilities at BMC West,” Smartt said during a conference call.

Ironically, BMC West was the company’s star performer during its second fiscal quarter, gaining market share and protecting its margins despite declines in building permits and lumber prices. BMHC credited the division’s customer base of local and regional builders and remodelers. BMC West tends to serve smaller markets and is not as dependent on production builders as SelectBuild, BMHC’s construction services division.

The Western Slope region of Colorado is dominated by custom builders, particularly Aspen and Steamboat Springs, where the cost of a home easily runs into seven figures. Remodeling jobs also tend to be high end, given the wealthy demographics.

Pro-Build’s Home Lumber serves the area, as does recently acquired Alpine Lumber, a 15-unit chain that did $189 million in sales last year. BMHC chose to sell its three yards, which generated $40 million in sales in 2006, to Harbert Lumber, a family-owned operation with a lumberyard in Grand Junction and a smaller location in Edwards, Colo. The third generation owners did $16.5 million in sales in 2006, according to Chain Store Guide, a sister publication to Home Channel News. The company also operates a truss plant, an installation division and a door shop.

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NLBMDA kicks off annual conference

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Las Vegas The National Lumber and Building Materials Association (NLBMDA) kicked off its Industry Summit yesterday by deciding to turn its day-to-day operations over to a trade association management company. In a unanimous decision, the NLBMDA board voted on Oct. 4 to sign a contract with SmithBucklin, which will handle staffing, accounting, educational programs, government relations, and other functions.

The NLBMDA will close its office in Washington D.C. and move into SmithBucklin’s office, also inside the Beltway, during a 60-day transition period. By contracting with an outside firm, the trade association will save approximately $170,760 a year, according to an analysis by SmithBucklin.

Other issues discussed during the board meeting were state and federal legislation that deal with frivolous lawsuits, illegal logging, OSHA regulations and organized scams against retailers.

The three-day conference, held at the J.W. Marriott, continues today with sessions on strategic visioning and market differentiation. Other events include a silent auction, a golf tournament and networking receptions.

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Weyerhaeuser named to sustainability index

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Forest products giant Weyerhaeuser has been named to the Dow Sustainability Index, a service that tracks the financial performance of the leading sustainability-driven companies worldwide.

According to a joint press release from Dow Jones and Weyerhaeuser, the company is the only North American forest products company now in the industry category of the index.

The sustainability index conducts an annual assessment of corporations and their impact on economic, environmental and social issues. The goal is to show how sustainability “is being defined in the global marketplace,” while helping asset managers track sustainability-driven investment portfolios, according to the companies.

“Sustainability is a core value at Weyerhaeuser,” said Steven Rogel, chairman, president and CEO. “In all we do, from renewing our forests, to reducing the environmental footprint of our manufacturing operations, to building homes, to recovering paper for recycling, Weyerhaeuser strives to act sustainably.”

Selection to sustainability index was based on a third party assessment of Weyerhaeuser – the company took part in Dow Jones’ review process by submitting an application and providing other company information.

The Federal Way, Wash.-based company plans to release its most recent earnings statement on Oct. 31.

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