Positive outlook for building products sector
A report just released from Standard & Poor’s Rating Services predicts a stable 2011 for most building products manufacturers, despite continued weakness in construction activity. The report, entitled “Efficiency Gains Should Keep The U.S. Building Materials Sector On An Even Keel in 2011, Despite Low Demand," predicts that most companies will remain cash flow positive and maintain adequate liquidity to meet near-term obligations, as well as funding possible working capital growth should markets recover.
"Most companies in the sector have already lowered their costs, which we think will allow them to continue to navigate an extended period of overall lower demand," said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Thomas Nadramia. "As a result, we expect the operating performance of the companies we rate in this sector to generally remain flat, or improve modestly, over the next few quarters."
Debt maturities for rated U.S. building materials companies will be manageable in 2011 and 2012, according to the S&P report, with only about $1 billion and $2 billion, respectively, coming due during these periods.
Existing-home sales rise sharply
Existing-home sales rose sharply in December, when sales increased for the fifth time in the past six months, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Completed transactions of single-family houses, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops rose 12.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million in December. Despite the surge, the figure is 2.9% below the 5.44 million-pace in December 2009.
"December was a good finish to 2010, when sales fluctuate more than normal," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "The pattern over the past six months is clearly showing a recovery. The December pace is near the volume we’re expecting for 2011, so the market is getting much closer to an adequate, sustainable level. The recovery will likely continue, as job growth gains momentum and rising rents encourage more renters into ownership while exceptional affordability conditions remain.”
The NAR’s report followed by one day a disappointing housing-start report from the Department of Commerce.
The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $168,800 in December, which is 1.0% below December 2009. Distressed homes rose to a 36% market share in December from 33% in November, and 32% in December 2009.
Andersen’s exterior trim system snaps on, saves time
Bayport, Minn.-based Andersen introduced a trim system that can be installed in about six minutes.
The Andersen Exterior Trim System works with Andersen A-Series, 400 Series and 200 Series product lines.
The design eliminates measuring, cutting mitering, nailing and filling nail holes, according to Mark Pominville, marketing manager. "Our revolutionary snap-on feature lets you trim out an average house in about half a day, compared to two days using traditional trim."
The Andersen Trim System works completely independent of the water management system of a window or patio door.
Andersen trim is made of Fibrex material, a composite combining the strength and stability of wood with the low-maintenance features of vinyl. Fibrex material has twice the stiffness of vinyl, withstands temperature changes better than vinyl, according to Andersen.