LUMBERYARDS

PulteGroup Q3 income rises

BY HBSDEALER Staff

PulteGroup reported net income of $2.3 billion for its third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with prior-year net income of $117 million.

Home sale revenues for the third quarter increased 21% from the prior year to $1.5 billion. Higher revenues for the period were driven by an 11% increase in average selling price to $310,000.

"PulteGroup’s third-quarter financial results demonstrate continued progress in our strategic repositioning of the Company to deliver better earnings and returns on invested capital," said Richard J. Dugas Jr., chairman, president and CEO of PulteGroup. 

Net new orders for the third quarter totaled 3,781 homes, a decrease of 17% from the prior year.

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NLBMDA rallies around Innocent Sellers

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Nashville,  Tenn. — The National Lumber and Building Material Dealers Association (NLBMDA) is ramping up its efforts to promote its signature: the Innocent Sellers Act (HR 2746).

Speaking during the Washington Update presentation here at the ProDealer Industry Summit, NLBMDA CEO Michael O’Brien led a discussion on recent lobbying activity that included the deep waters of Obamacare and legislation reform.

O’Brien described the political atmosphere in Washington, D.C., as “toxic,” with few signs of improvement. The clashes over the government shutdown are likely to reemerge after the holidays, he added.

On the Innocent Sellers Act — a proposal that protects retailers from unreasonable litigation in the event a product is used incorrectly — the NLBMDA’s biggest ally is Congressman Blake Farenthold (R-TX).   

Momentum for the act was derailed partly by events in Syria and the partial government shutdown. It’s imperative, according to O’Brien, for NLBMDA members to rally support in Congress for the act, and ask them to co-sponsor the bill.

The NLBMDA set up an action center, allowing attendees of the PDIS to quickly send an Innocent Sellers email to their representatives.

EPA lead rule reform is another area of emphasis for the NLBMDA, which remains concerned over reliability of test kits and the EPA’s unwillingness to address the problem. 

The NLBMDA has a long history of objections to the EPA’s Lead: Renovation, Repair and Paintint (LRRP). It was introduced in 2010 and requires remodeling and renovation firms that perform work on pre-1978 housing to be EPA certified. And the firms must keep records of the project for three years. 

The NLBMDA supports the Lead Exposure Reduction Amendments Act, which has two key provisions: 1.) It restores an opt-out provision for homeowners in households with no pregnant women and no children; and 2.) It creates a time frame for the EPA to develop a test kit that is commercially available and meets the EPA’s own standard for false positives. 

On the topic of Obamacare, O’Brien described the administrations mishandling of online registration as “mind boggling. … They have maybe a month to get this under control.”

If the technical registration problems persist, an extension of the open enrollment period — or other more serious program changes — become possible, if not likely, he said. 

He pointed to key past and future calendar items for Obamacare:           

• Oct 1: Open enrollment began for in-state health insurance exchanges;

• Jan. 1: Individual mandate takes effect; and

• Jan. 1: Health insurance tax on fully insured plans take effect.

The employer mandate has been delayed for one year until Jan. 1, 2015.

Other key items on the NLBMDA’s Legislative Agenda include the mortgage interest deduction, the Internet sales tax/Marketplace Fairness Act, OSHA rules and NLRB rules.

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Chris Yenrick accepts the gavel as 2014 NLBMDA chairman

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Outgoing NLBMDA chairman Chuck Bankston took some time at the open of the ProDealer Industry Summit to formally pass the gavel to Chris Yenrick, who will replace him as chair in 2014.

"I hope I won’t have to use this too much," quipped Yenrick as he accepted the gavel from Bankston.

Yenrick, who is president of Smith Phillips Building Supply in Winston-Salem, N.C., stressed the importance of succession planning, grassroots activism and pulling younger generations into the aging industry.

"We need to find young people to replace [older grassroots advocates] and fight for our place on the Hill," he said. "I want to make sure that this business is viable for [my son] down the road."

Yenrick recounted his own entry into the industry, which began when he ended his military service and took a job at a lumberyard through his father-in-law. It felt like a natural fit, he said, so it came as no surprise when he discovered that his grandfather had also worked at a lumberyard. "It was in my blood," he said.

Yenrick highlighted the organization’s ongoing efforts to pass the Innocent Sellers Protection Act, its success in passing the exemption in the OSHA crane law, its work with Habitat for Humanity and the Helping a Hero program, and his intentions to continue strengthening the association’s relationship with the NAHB.

"I look forward to working through the NLBMDA to increase the awareness and involvement of independent and national chain dealers to present a strong and united front to advocate for business conditions that will be conducive to our long-term success," said Yenrick in a statement. "Lumberyards and our industry have a time-honored tradition of serving a vital role in the American dream of home-ownership. NLBMDA is our voice to help preserve that role into the future."

Yenrick has previously served at the federal level with NLBMDA, and regionally with the Southern Building Material Association.

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