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TimberTech’s Straight Talk plays Q&A online

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Wilmington, Ohio-based TimberTech unveiled an interactive online resource for homeowners and pros in search of deck answers. 

TimberTech is unveiling an interactive Q&A platform called “Straight Talk.” The new tool can be accessed at TimberTech.com/StraightTalk and answers deck questions from pros and consumers, the company said. 

What’s the difference between composites and wood? Do composites cost more? Do they get hotter than wood? These are some of the questions the Wilmington, Ohio-based company expects to handle. 

Questions submitted to the Straight Talk forum will be answered by qualified experts and will address such customer questions as product costs, composite benefits over wood, worries that composite decking will mold or fade, deck cleaning and care, the different types of decking materials available, and other common questions about composite products.

The online Straight Talk forum can be accessed from the newly designed TimberTech website.

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Meritage cited for energy efficiency

BY Ken Clark

Phoenix-based Meritage Homes has earned the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 2013 Energy Star Partner of the Year – Sustained Excellence Award. The award recognizes ongoing leadership across the Energy Star program, including energy-efficient products, services, new homes, and buildings in the commercial, industrial and public sectors. 

Meritage was recognized for its continued leadership in protecting the environment. Meritage received the EPA’s 2012 Energy Star Leadership in Housing Award, the 2011 Energy Starr Builder of the Year award and the 2010 Department of Energy’s Building America Partner award. Meritage’s accomplishments in earning these awards include being the first 100% Energy Star production builder; offering the first fully EPA-certified home for Energy Star, Indoor airPLUS and WaterSense; and the first Net Zero Energy production builder in the United States.

"Meritage has redefined the way homes can and should be built, setting a new standard in production home building," said Steve Hilton, the company’s chairman and CEO.

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Boise Cascade swings to a gain

BY Ken Clark

Boise Cascade Co., the industry’s most recent addition to the ranks of publicly traded companies, increased fourth-quarter sales as it swung to a gain.

"We experienced a fourth consecutive quarter of positive income from operations, underscored by strong plywood prices and improved demand for the products we manufacture and distribute,” said Tom Carlile, CEO.

Overall, the company’s fourth-quarter sales were $694.6 million, up 26.9%. For the full year, total sales were up 24% to $2.779 billion.

Net income was $1.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, compared with a net loss of $13.8 million in the same period last year. For the full year, net income improved to $41.5 million, compared with a net loss of $46.4 million in 2011.  

BMD segment sales were $553.1 million in the fourth quarter, up 29% from the same quarter a year ago.

“We are pleased with our successful initial public offering (IPO) completed on Feb. 11, 2013,” Carlile said. “The IPO, together with our debt refinancing in early fourth quarter 2012, provides the company with a strong liquidity position to take advantage of continued improvement in the markets, execute strategic initiatives within our existing operations and evaluate growth opportunities." 

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $17.0 million for the fourth quarter of 2012 and $96.6 million for the full year. 

The company closely watches residential construction stats, which drive business to a large extent. While U.S. housing starts improved 28% to 780,000 in 2012, compared with 609,000 in 2011, housing start levels remain significantly below the historical average for the last 20 years of approximately 1.4 million units per year, the company noted. However, as of February 2013, Blue Chip consensus forecast for 2013 is 990,000, a 27% increase from 2012 levels.

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