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Boise boosts sales in Q1

BY Brae Canlen

Boise Cascade Holdings has announced sales of $587 million for its first fiscal quarter of 2012, a 21% increase over the same quarter a year ago. The wood products company reported first-quarter net income of $1.66 million, compared with a $19.0 million loss during the first quarter of 2011. 

As of March 31, Boise Cascade had total available liquidity of $371.9 million, with $164.4 million in cash and committed bank line availability of $207.5 million.

First-quarter 2012 revenues and earnings were higher on improved demand relative to the year-ago quarter. While the company’s revenues and earnings continue to be negatively impacted by depressed demand for the products it distributes and manufactures, the mild winter in the United States, improved residential construction activity, and its market share gains in engineered wood products (EWP) and plywood contributed to a better start of the year.

With the more favorable start to the year, the Blue Chip consensus forecast for U.S. housing starts for 2012 has been revised upward to 740,000 as of April 10, 2012, according to Boise’s press release. The final U.S. housing starts level reported for 2011 was 609,000.

“The demand level in the first quarter was stronger following the tough industry conditions and weather in 2011,” said Tom Carlile, CEO. “We are hopeful the increase in sales activity and our earnings will carry through to the rest of the year. Our liquidity puts us in a good position to respond to any improvement in the markets and take advantage of business opportunities.”

Building Materials Distribution (BMD) segment sales were $451.4 million in the first quarter 2012, up 19% from the same quarter a year ago. Volumes for the segment were up approximately 16%, with prices up about 3%.

Wood Products segment sales in the first quarter 2012 were $211.1 million, up 36% from the same quarter a year ago. The increase in sales was due primarily to increased plywood volumes and prices and increased EWP shipments, offset in part by lower EWP sales price realizations.

The company said it anticipates a “below normal demand” for the products it distributes and manufactures. Industry commodity wood product prices could be volatile in response to operating rates and inventory levels in various distribution channels. “We expect to manage our production levels to our sales demand, which will likely cause us to operate some of our facilities below their capacity,” the statement read.

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BlueLinx posts increase in Q1 revenue

BY HBSDealer Staff

Atlanta-based BlueLinx Holdings posted a net loss of $11.0 million for the first quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of $12.3 million in the first quarter of 2011.

The building products distributor reported first-quarter revenue of $453.7 million, up 16.2% from $390.6 million in the same period a year ago. The increase in revenue is attributable to increased unit volumes and increased underlying product prices for both product categories. 

"We are very pleased by the sales growth in the first quarter and encouraged by signs of strengthening economic activity and improving industry trends," said George Judd, president and CEO.

"The company narrowed its first-quarter comparable adjusted pretax loss to $11.4 million from $21.4 million in the year-ago period. Our improved first-quarter results demonstrated our ability to grow revenue while keeping adjusted operating expenses flat and expanding margins. Looking forward, the positive sales momentum experienced in the first quarter has continued into April."

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Plum Creek reports Q1 earning decline

BY HBSDealer Staff

Plum Creek Timber Co. posted first-quarter earnings of $29 million, down 23.6% from $38 million in the first quarter of 2011. Revenues in the first quarter totaled $337 million, up 22.5% from $275 million in the year-ago period

Earnings declined due to lower reported income from the real estate segment, although revenues and cash generated by the segment increased. 

“Plum Creek performed well in the first quarter. We took advantage of attractive pulpwood markets and seamlessly integrated the harvest from our recently acquired timber deed in the Gulf South region. However, results didn’t meet our initial expectations due to timing differences in our real estate sales,” said Rick Holley, president and CEO. 

“Our first-quarter real estate sales, while higher than the first quarter of last year, were below our initial expectations. Performance in our timber and manufacturing segments was similar to the first quarter of 2011, and we remain on track to meet our financial goals for the year.” 

The Northern Resources segment reported operating profit of $6 million during the first quarter, compared with $7 million in the first quarter of 2011. 

Operating profit in the Southern Resources segment was $21 million, up $2 million from the first quarter of 2011 due to higher harvest volumes.

The Real Estate segment reported revenue of $100 million, and operating income of $30 million. First-quarter 2011 revenue totaled $62 million, and operating income was $38 million. Although revenue increased, higher non-cash land basis expense (the book value of the lands sold) resulted in lower operating profit.

The Manufacturing segment reported operating income of $4 million, unchanged from the first quarter of 2011.

The company completed the purchase of about 4.7 million tons of mature southern yellow pine timber in a negotiated timber deed transaction valued at $103 million. The timber is located in the Gulf South region. “The acquisition is expected to be earnings neutral in the first year and become increasingly earnings and cash accretive over the eight-year life of the investment,” according to a company release.

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