LUMBERYARDS

Trucking industry recruiting building contractors

BY Brae Canlen

Builders and pro dealers who are reporting a shortage of skilled tradesmen can put some of the blame on the trucking industry, which is heavily recruiting construction workers, according to a report by Prime Inc., a refrigerated, flatbed and tanker trucking company.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) is conducting a national driver recruitment campaign in order to employ a Global Insights predicted shortage of 111,000 drivers by 2014 in the trucking industry. The campaign focuses on increasing its pool of driver applicants by appealing to those who became unemployed during the housing slump. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), an estimated 1.4 million residential construction jobs were lost between April 2006 and October of 2011.

The ATA estimates that at the current trends, the driver shortage could balloon to as much as 239,000 drivers by 2022. In addition, the ATA estimates that 96,178 drivers will be needed every year over the next 10 years to account for the shortage. “The transition of individuals from other industries into trucking can play a large role in bridging the gap on the driver shortage,” the report stated.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, employment in the construction industry remains at low levels because of the 2007-09 recession, and employment in most construction occupations is not expected to reach pre-recession levels. The most recent Engineering News Record Construction Industry Confidence Index (CICI) survey showed a six-point drop, registering 50 on a scale of 100.

Companies such as Prime are promoting trucking jobs as a source of steady employment and excellent employee benefits. The company also offers incentives designed to promote safety, on-time service, fuel consumption, tractor maintenance and training.

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Dunn Lumber acquires another location

BY Brae Canlen

Dunn Lumber, an 11-unit pro dealer based in Seattle, has added Parker Lumber to its chain of  lumberyards. Now called Parker Lumber East, the Bothell, Wash., unit is located near Dunn’s Mill Creek location.

Founded in 1869, the company is owned and operated by the third and fourth generation of the Dunn family. It ranked No. 63 on the 2012 Pro Dealer Scoreboard.

 

 

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BlueLinx expects double-digit sales growth in Q4

BY Brae Canlen

BlueLinx Holdings has reported preliminary results for its fourth fiscal quarter, with expected revenues at approximately $440 million, an increase of 12.5% from $391.1 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.

Net loss for the quarter, which ended Dec. 29, 2012, was reported in per-share figures. BlueLinx expects to report a fourth-quarter net loss per diluted share in the range of $0.16 to $0.22. This compares with a net loss of $0.17 per diluted share for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011.   

Gross profit margin for the quarter is expected to be approximately 11.9%, compared with 12.3% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. The net loss included a pre-tax net gain of $0.2 million, or $0.00 per diluted share, and $3.9 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, from significant special items in the fourth quarter of 2012 and 2011, respectively.

For the full year ended Dec. 29, 2012, the Atlanta-based distributor expects to report a net loss per diluted share in the range of $0.35 to $0.41, compared with a net loss of $0.89 per diluted share in fiscal 2011.  Revenues are expected to be approximately $1.91 billion for fiscal year 2012, an increase of 8.5% from $1.76 billion for the previous fiscal year.

Gross profit margin for fiscal 2012 is expected to be approximately 12.1%, compared with 12.0% in fiscal 2011. Net loss included a pre-tax net gain of $10.4 million, or $0.17 per diluted share, and $12.6 million, or $0.29 per diluted share, from significant special items in fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2011, respectively. 

“We are excited about BlueLinx’ prospects in the recovering housing market and the continued favorable trends in housing fundamentals experienced through the fourth quarter,” said George Judd, president and CEO. “Year-over-year revenues grew for the sixth consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2012.” Judd also expressed “positive momentum” as the company enters the 2013 fiscal year.

Revolving credit facilities and mortgage indebtedness for Bluelinx, based on the preliminary results, totaled approximately $171.4 million and $209.6 million, respectively. As of Dec. 31, 2011, revolving credit facilities and mortgage indebtedness totaled approximately $94.5 million and $243.3 million, respectively. Excess availability under the company’s revolving credit facilities as of Dec. 29, 2012, is expected to be approximately $86.6 million, compared with $118.3 million as of Dec. 31, 2011.

The BlueLinx board of directors has approved a plan to commence a rights offering of common stock to its stockholders, which the company expects will produce gross proceeds of approximately $40 million. Proceeds of this transaction will be used to repay indebtedness under its U.S. credit facility, the announcement said. Cerberus ABP Investor, the company’s majority stockholder, has indicated that it intends to subscribe for the maximum additional shares it can purchase, subject to certain conditions. 

BlueLinx will report financial results for the fourth quarter before the market opens on Feb. 13, 2013.

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