Huttig sales rise in poor weather
Huttig Building Products posted solid growth in the first quarter of 2014, with sales increasing nearly 9% over the same period last year. However, the company’s net loss widened.
Net sales for the three months ended March 31 were $135.3 million, compared to $124.5 million in 2013.
The net income came in as a loss of $4.0 million, down from a loss of $2.0 million in last year’s first quarter.
"Despite a challenging business environment as a result of the unusually poor weather in the first quarter, our financial results from continuing operations continued to improve as we executed on our strategy of delivering profitable sales growth for our shareholders," said Jon Vrabely, Huttig’s president and CEO. "We have been, and will continue to reinvest in our business to take advantage of market opportunities and further strengthen our financial performance."
Huttig also noted a $3.1 million charge for environmental liabilities related to a formerly owned property in Montana, which was reflected in discontinued operations.
Sales up 3% for Boise Cascade in Q1
Boise Cascade Company enjoyed a boost of 3% to its sales in the first quarter, but took a hit in terms of net income.
The company’s bottom line was $5.57 million in the three-month period ended March 31 — down from $80.8 million in the same period last year. The company attributed last year’s high income to a $68.7 million income tax benefit associated with recording net deferred tax assets after Boise Cascade converted from a limited liability corporation to a corporation.
Net sales were $767.2 million for the quarter, up from $744.9 million in the first quarter of 2013. Wood Products led the momentum with a sales gain of 9%; the Building Materials Distribution unit posted a gain of 1%.
"The first quarter presented unusually severe weather conditions in many parts of the country which reduced the demand for building materials, negatively impacted our operating costs, and, at times, disrupted rail and truck shipments to our customers," said CEO Tom Carlile. "Lower commodity wood products prices, particularly structural panels, also made the year-over-year quarterly sales and earnings comparisons challenging. However, our sales activity is picking up as we move into the second quarter and we still believe the housing recovery will continue to progress in 2014."
Company adopts a $17 minimum wage
Garden Grove, Calif.-based Earth Friendly Products, the manufacturer of ECOS laundry detergent and other all-natural cleaning products, is increasing its minimum wage to $17 per hour in honor of Earth Day this year.
Additionally, the company will continue providing a bonus worth one week’s pay for both Earth Day and Labor Day to all employees.
The move backs the company’s ideal of a sustainable, fair and responsible work environment, first established by founder Van Vlahakis in 1967.
"As the daughter of an immigrant father, I believe in establishing a livable hourly wage, rather than a minimum hourly wage for our employees," said EVP Kelly Vlahakis-Hanks. "The memory of those early days in poverty, including a few stays in homeless shelters, always resonated with my father Van Vlahakis, the Founder of Earth Friendly Products, and led him to make this change across all of our employees’ wages. We consider our employees to be very much a part of the company’s success since we opened our first facility in 1967. To our knowledge, this new $17/hour minimum wage is the highest of any national company in America. To us, it is just smart business, proving that a company can be good stewards of the environment, treat its employees with dignity and be strong, stable and profitable.”
Other employee perks include a $2,500 subsidy to purchase a hybrid or other green vehicle, as well as $2,000 toward solar panels for their homes. There’s also a $1,000 relocation incentive for employees who move closer to the company facility to lower their carbon footprints.
According to the company, roughly 44% of its 300-person staff will enjoy the boost in some capacity.