Boise Cascade Q2 sales up 16%
Boise, Idaho-based Boise Cascade Co. reported second-quarter sales of $852.3 million, up 16% over the same quarter last year.
Net income of $10.4 million was down from $15.0 million in last year’s second quarter, as gross margins in the company’s distribution segment were adversely affected by commodity prices.
“Commodity pricing for structural panels and lumber was stronger than the prior year quarter, contributing to improved operating performance in our Wood Products segment. However, gross margins in our Building Materials Distribution segment were negatively impacted by a steady downward trajectory in commodity prices during the second quarter of 2013,” said Tom Carlile, CEO. "In addition, we are pleased with our previously announced agreement to acquire two plywood plants in North and South Carolina. These facilities will complement our existing plywood and engineered wood manufacturing businesses and enable us to better serve our customers in the eastern and southeastern United States."
The company says it continues to experience demand below 20-year average historical levels for its products for the balance of 2013. However, "we remain optimistic that the recent improvement in demand for our products will continue."
The company added in a statement: "We expect to manage our production levels to our sales demand, which will likely result in operating some of our facilities below their capacity until demand improves further."
COO of New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co. resigns
James W. Van Buren has left his post as executive VP and CEO of New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., Inc. Effective July 18, 2013, Van Buren is officially free to pursue other opportunities, though he will remain on the board of directors.
"I am proud of our accomplishments over my tenure, as we have built one of the finest and most recognizable franchises in the quarry, traffic safety and construction industry," said Van Buren. “I am sincerely grateful for the support I’ve received from the Board of Directors, our customers and our employees. The company is well positioned and on a clear path to a successful future. I am looking forward to my continued role as a significant shareholder and member of the Board of Directors."
New Enterprise CEO Paul Detwiler, III, thanked Van Buren for his contributions to the company in a statement, wherein he emphasized NESL’s continued focus on construction materials, heavy/highway construction and traffic safety.
Innocent Sellers Act returns to the Hill
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The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) commended Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) for his reintroduction of the NLBMDA-promoted "Innocent Sellers Fairness Act" (H.R. 2746) that would provide product liability protection to those businesses that only sell products and did not manufacture them.
"NLBMDA applauds Representative Farenthold for his effort to bring balance to our legal system by recognizing that business owners that only sell products, and are not involved in the manufacturing process, should not be held liable for defects that they did not create," said NLBMDA chairman Chuck Bankston, president of Bankston Lumber in Barnesville, Ga. Unfounded and unfair lawsuits are increasingly having a negative effect on the ability of building material dealers and distributors to run their businesses and contribute to their communities. According to a 2010 study by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform, small businesses bear 81% of business tort liability costs.
The high costs of defending product liability lawsuits have caused many building material dealers to settle, regardless of the merits of the case. Current law imposes liability without wrongdoing on sellers and exposes them to all of the damages allegedly suffered by a plaintiff, even though other defendants may have played the critical role in causing the damages. The "mistake" may have been in the manufacture or design of the product, or in a customer’s improper use of the product, yet the seller is often faced with some or all of the liability.
"No amount of care can free a seller from disproportionate product liability, and plaintiffs’ lawyers know this –they routinely sue anyone in the chain of distribution of a product, often forcing settlements out of otherwise innocent merchants. These abusive product liability cases are part of a growing litigation burden on our nation’s small businesses and our economy," said NLBMDA president and CEO Michael O’Brien. "This legislation will bring some sanity back to our legal system, and we urge Congress to act swiftly on H.R. 2746."