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Universal Forest Products sales up, earnings down in third quarter

BY HBSDEALER Staff

In the face of a lackluster housing market, Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Universal Forest Products saw third-quarter earnings decrease 36 percent to $11.3 million compared with earnings of $17.7 million last year.

Sales rose 0.9 percent to $678.4 million from $672.9 million.

The drop in the housing market “continued to have a broad impact,” the company said, with site-built construction sales down 24 percent year-over-year to $158.9 million.

However, sales in the DIY sector rose a healthy 11.2 percent to $268 million. Sales in the company’s other business segments, industrial and manufactured/modular housing, rose 10.2 percent and 18.2 percent respectively.

“We’re focused on building market share, managing our working capital, reducing costs and enhancing our balance of business by adding new products and exploring new areas for growth,” said Michael Glenn, president and CEO of Universal Forest Products. “By focusing on these objectives, we’re positioning ourselves well for the market’s return to strength.”

The company still downwardly revised its annual sales and earnings targets in light of a “weak housing market E and the company’s prediction that recovery won’t begin until 2009.”

Universal Forest Products markets, manufactures and engineers wood and wood-alternative products.

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CertainTeed sets sights on Las Vegas

BY HBSDEALER Staff

CertainTeed Gypsum has announced plans to open a new manufacturing plant for joint compounds, tapes, powdered textures and other finishing products in north Las Vegas. Construction on the 100,000-squre-foot facility will begin this month, with production expected to begin late next year.

Based in Valley Forge, Pa., CertainTeed Gypsum already operates a wallboard plant in Las Vegas. The company, a subsidiary of Saint-Gobain, also has a joint compound plant in Kent, Wash.

When the second joint compound plant opens, CertainTeed Gypsum will be able to unite both of its product lines — wallboard and finishing products — in one shipment, the company said.

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84 Lumber closes Minnesota stores

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Citing a dearth of building activity in the St. Paul and Minneapolis region, 84 Lumber closed its two locations in that metro area. Employees were informed yesterday, said Jeff Nobers, vp-corporate communications.

“Building activity is almost non-existent in some of these markets,” Nobers said.

The two locations are Hugo, 17 miles northeast of St. Paul, and Lakeville, 19 miles south of Minneapolis. Combined, the lumberyards employed 34 people.

With $3.7 billion in sales reported for 2006, 84 Lumber ranked third on HCN’s Pro Dealer Top 350 list.

Other national pro dealers are also scaling back their locations and personnel to cope with the continued downturn. Pro-Build Holdings has closed 20 locations in previous months, and Stock Building Supply has shuttered 22 stores and cut 20 percent of its work force, or approximately 3,500 people.

During an analyst conference call in July, Builders FirstSource revealed it had reduced its work force by 18 percent — as measured by “full-time equivalent employees” — during the second quarter of 2007

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