LUMBERYARDS

Jeld-Wen sells stake to Canadian investors

BY HBSDEALER Staff

A Canadian investment group agreed to pay $675 million for a 39% stake in Jeld-Wen, the window and door manufacturer.

Onex Corp. announced the plan yesterday, anticipating Jeld-Wen was positioned well for a global recovery in housing.

"We believe that Jeld-Wen’s competitive position and well-known brands in markets around the world position the company very well to take advantage of the eventual recovery in global housing markets," said Anthony Munk, an Onex managing director. "We are delighted to be investing alongside the Wendt family, and look forward to working closely with Jeld-Wen’s management team and employees to build on the company’s success."

Jeld-Wen will continue to be majority-owned by the Trust of Mr. Richard Wendt, members of the Wendt family, Jeld-Wen employees and other existing shareholders.

Rod Wendt, CEO of Jeld-Wen, commented, "This is an exciting time in our company’s history, and we’re pleased to be partnering with Onex, who shares our vision for the company’s future."

According to the press release, Jeld-Wen had $3.0 billion in 2010 revenues. It operates 123 manufacturing and distribution centers and employs approximately 20,000 people in more than 25 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Australia and Asia. 

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Losses narrow at BlueLinx

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Building products distributor BlueLinx reported a net loss of $12.3 million for its first fiscal quarter, which ended April 2, compared with a net loss of $14.7 million in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenues were $390.6 million, a 9.4% drop from sales of $431.1 million in the first period of 2010. The company said this reflected a 20.8% drop in structural product sales associated with the softness in the housing market and a slight sales increase in specialty products. Overall unit volume declined 11.8% compared with the year-ago period, primarily as a result of a 25.2% decline in structural unit volume.

"We continued to manage through a very difficult housing market in the first quarter," said CEO George Judd. "Our results were impacted by a housing market that contracted by almost 10%, an extremely long and severe winter, and a very competitive structural products market.”

Headquartered in Atlanta, BlueLinx operates a distribution network that includes more than 750 suppliers and 60 distribution centers to serve approximately 11,500 customers nationwide, including dealers, industrial manufacturers, manufactured housing producers and home improvement retailers.

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Boise Cascade posts losses

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Boise Cascade Holdings has announced a $19.0 million net loss for its first fiscal quarter, which ended March 31. BC Holdings’ building products subsidiary, Boise Cascade L.L.C., reported a first-quarter loss of $5.6 million before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA), which included $2.6 million of charges related to the curtailment of a production facility and noncash asset write-downs. Boise Cascade reported EBITDA losses of $1.8 million in the first quarter of 2010.

Building Materials Distribution (BMD) segment sales were $377.8 million in the first quarter, down 3% from the same quarter a year ago. Prices for the segment were up approximately 3%, with volumes down about 6%. The BMD unit reported a net loss of $4.5 million, compared with a loss of $733,000 a year ago.

Wood Products segment sales in the first quarter were $154.9 million, up about 5% from the same quarter a year ago. The increase in sales was due primarily to increased plywood prices and volumes, higher lumber volumes and higher by-product chip sales. Net loss for the segment was $7.26 million, compared with $6.59 million in the same quarter last year. 

Engineered wood products (EWP) prices were up about 8%, but lower EWP sales volumes mostly offset that increase.

“New residential construction activity was abysmal in the first few months of 2011, as a number of major market areas in the U.S. contended with the ongoing overhang of distressed housing inventory, exceptionally harsh winter weather, or both,” said company CEO Tom Carlile in a prepared statement. “March sales improved in a number of our key markets, but we remain concerned about the overall new residential construction environment and the prospects for a meaningful recovery in housing starts this year. We took advantage of our balance sheet strength to invest in inventories earlier this year and believe it will pay off as we move through the second quarter.”

The company’s outlook, as stated in its released earnings, was: “Absent a decline in unemployment and a reduction in the housing supply overhang, we expect to continue to experience below-normal demand for the products we distribute and manufacture. 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 our facilities below their capacity.”

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