Sales rise 18% at Louisiana-Pacific Corp.
Louisiana-Pacific Corp., one of the industry’s leading suppliers of oriented strand board (OSB) and other building materials, announced net sales of $428 million for its second fiscal quarter, an 18% hike over sales of $362.4 million in the same quarter a year ago.
Net loss for the second quarter, which ended June 30, was $37.3 million, compared with a net loss of $35.4 million in the corresponding quarter of 2011. The results for the second quarter of 2012 include an early debt extinguishment charge of $52 million associated with its recent financing.
"We are pleased that LP returned to profitability in the second quarter, after adjusting for the costs associated with our successful debt refinancing,” said CEO Curt Stevens. “Higher OSB prices and volume and continued volume growth in our siding business were the primary drivers for the improvement in our results.”
The OSB segment reported net sales of $195 million for the second quarter of 2012, an increase from $141 million a year ago. Operating income for the OSB segment during the second quarter was $17 million, compared with a loss of $23 million in the second quarter of 2011. The company reported that sales volumes were up 13% with sales price increasing by 22%. LP is currently operating seven OSB facilities and has indefinitely curtailed three other plants due to market conditions.
The company’s siding segment reported net sales of $137 million in the second quarter of 2012, an increase of 16% from $119 million in the year-ago second quarter. For the second quarter of 2012, LP posted operating income of $19 million for its siding products, compared with $11 million in the year-ago quarter.
The Engineered Wood Product (EWP) segment, comprised of I-Joist, Laminated Veneer Lumber and Laminated Strand Lumber, registered sales of $52 million in the second quarter, a slight decrease from a year ago. Operating losses was $3 million for both the second quarter of 2012 and for the second quarter of 2011.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based company’s outlook for the second half of the year was “cautiously optimistic,” according to a released statement. “Though it appears that the general economy may be slowing, housing activity continues to improve,” said Stevens.
St. Louis apartment fire ignites debate over building materials
A blaze that destroyed a 197-unit apartment building in St. Louis, Mo., displacing 250 residents, has called into question the materials used in the construction of the four-story building. An article on the fire in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the structure was built to code, had working sprinklers, and so-called "draft stops" to slow the spread of fire.
But St. Louis Fire Chief Dennis Jenkerson was still concerned by how quickly the fire moved through the attic. (Although the cause of the July 17 fire remains under investigation, arson is not suspected.) Jenkerson questioned the materials used for the building, even if they were allowed by code. In particular, he raised an issue with the use of “lightweight, synthetic materials” instead of brick and real wood.
"Like every fire chief, I look at the (building) code every year," Jenkerson told the newspaper. "We have a risk perspective that’s different from the building trades. You’ve got to take the costs and weigh it against the risk."
In the case of the apartment building fire, Jenkerson said that the draft stops and drywall partitions weren’t very effective. Each walled-off section of attic contained an abundance of joists, plywood and other combustible building materials.
"In between each draft wall, there was basically a lumberyard," Jenkerson said.
Less than an hour after firefighters arrived on the scene, the top floor began to cave in and they had to abandon the building. No one was killed or injured in the incident.
Public Safety Director Eddie Roth told the Post-Dispatch said that the use of lightweight building materials was part of "a national debate" and was not unique to St. Louis, which follows national building codes.
In Texas, Imagine Homes teams with Dow
Dow Powerhouse announced a major new collaboration with Imagine Homes, a San Antonio-based home builder, to offer Dow Powerhouse Solar Shingle roof system to all new home buyers in Imagine Homes’ six San Antonio-area residential communities.
Additionally, Dow Powerhouse will be a standard feature on all homes in the Willis Ranch community, scheduled to open in September 2012.
"The Dow Powerhouse team is tremendously proud and very enthusiastic to be working with one of the nation’s leading green home builders to provide homeowners in the San Antonio metro area with complete energy-efficient building envelope options," said Dan Pezolt, Dow Solar marketing director. "Our partnership with Imagine Homes will integrate our neighborhood-friendly Solar Shingles that actively generate electricity with new homes that have been designed from foundation to roof with energy-efficient design in mind."
The announcement expands the channels for San Antonio homeowners to the solar shingle roof product, making it easier to transform their roofs into a power source that offsets a significant percentage of home energy costs.