Retailers protest wood import restrictions
A representative of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) testified before a U.S. Congress subcommittee on May 8 about concerns surrounding compliance challenges that have emerged from the 2008 Lacey Act, especially concerning wood imports.
Laurie Everill, regional customer and compliance manager for IKEA-North America, spoke before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Fisheries, Wildlife Oceans and Insular Affairs. She pointed out that, among other things, the Lacey Act law requires importers to provide to U.S. Customs and the Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service such details as the genus, species and country of harvest for products that include wood materials.
“The current bills in the House — Tennessee Congressman Cooper’s RELIEF Act and Georgia Congressman Broun’s FOCUS Act — have raised awareness of Members of Congress and the public to the practical challenges related to the Lacey Act Amendments,” said Everill in testimony submitted to Congress. “However, neither of these bills would adequately address these challenges, and in order to be credible, any change needs to be supported by the environmental community. We are looking for a new legislative approach that effectively addresses the issues of business stakeholders, stands the best chance of generating broad, bipartisan support in Congress and all stakeholders, but without undermining the very important goal to stop illegal logging.”
In a prepared statement, Stephanie Lester, RILA’s VP international trade, said: “While retailers strongly support efforts to combat illegal logging, there is a growing recognition that compliance with the Lacey Act is very difficult. Simple changes to the law would help retailers comply and achieve the policy goals shared by RILA, our members and the law’s most strident advocates.”
To make implementation of the Lacey Act more targeted and effective, retailers are seeking changes to the law that would simplify the import declaration, ensure due process, clarify the scope of applicable foreign laws and regulations, and exclude products manufactured before the Lacey Act Amendment was enacted in 2008.
Based in Washington, D.C., RILA is a trade association of the world’s largest retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales.
Sales rise, losses narrow at BFS
Builders FirstSource, the Dallas-based pro dealer, posted net sales of $219.4 million for its first fiscal quarter of 2012, a 34.7% hike over sales of $162.8 million in the same quarter of 2011. The increase was primarily due to increased sales volume as commodity prices for lumber and lumber sheet goods in the quarter were, on average, comparable to the same period a year ago, the company said. The increased sales volume was achieved across all product categories, and Builders FirstSource reported that it “continued to expand our customer base while increasing our sales to existing customers.”
The LBM chain posted a net loss of $19.1 million for its first fiscal quarter, which ended March 31, 2012. This compares to a net loss of $21.2 million a year ago.
“We have continued to manage our operating expenses with a key focus on conserving liquidity,” the company said in its financial filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). “Our selling, general and administrative expenses, as a percentage of sales, decreased 5.5% in the quarter compared to the same period a year ago. We have made significant changes to our business during the downturn that have improved our operating efficiency and allowed us to better leverage our operating costs against changes in sales. The continued execution of our cost containment strategies along with our improved operating results contributed to us ending the quarter with $94.6 million of liquidity, which includes $129.6 million of cash reduced by the $35.0 million minimum cash requirement in our term loan.
“We still believe that the long-term outlook for the housing industry is positive due to growth in the underlying demographics. We believe we are well-positioned to take advantage of any construction activity in our markets and will continue to increase our market share. We will continue to focus on working capital by closely monitoring the credit exposure of our customers and by working with our vendors to improve our payment terms and pricing on our products. We will also continue to work diligently to achieve the appropriate balance of short-term cost reductions while maintaining the expertise to grow the business when market conditions improve. We want to create long-term shareholder value and avoid taking steps that will limit our ability to compete,” the SEC filing said.
Luxor reports strong sales, new EWP line
Luxor Industrial Corp., a Canadian engineered wood products manufacturer, is working on developing a heavy timber line for specialty wood products, the company said in its financial filings. The Vancouver B.C.-based firm has completed initial engineering and is meeting with interested North American customers. Luxor currently focuses on sales in the industrial and commercial markets for wood products, a market it focused on in 2008 after the residential downturn.
Company sales for the 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2011, were $3.2 million, a 170% increase over sales of $1.2 million in 2010. Sales for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2011, were approximately $970,000, compared with approximately $330,000 for the same period in 2010.
Luxor attributes the revenue increase mainly to sales of specialty wood products to oil and gas exploration companies and the wholesale of engineered wood products.
Net income, excluding non-cash items (amortization expense and stock option plan expense) for 2011 was $342,397, compared with a net loss of $231,909 in 2010.
Luxor manufactures and markets a patented wood-frame floor system. It also manufactures other building components, architectural and utility wood products, as well as distributing laminated beams and offering various custom wood-cutting services. Luxor also offers coating services, which protect wood against mold, decay, and insects and provide fire protection.