Boise boosts sales in Q1

Boise Cascade Holdings has announced sales of $587 million for its first fiscal quarter of 2012, a 21% increase over the same quarter a year ago. The wood products company reported first-quarter net income of $1.66 million, compared with a $19.0 million loss during the first quarter of 2011. 

As of March 31, Boise Cascade had total available liquidity of $371.9 million, with $164.4 million in cash and committed bank line availability of $207.5 million.

First-quarter 2012 revenues and earnings were higher on improved demand relative to the year-ago quarter. While the company's revenues and earnings continue to be negatively impacted by depressed demand for the products it distributes and manufactures, the mild winter in the United States, improved residential construction activity, and its market share gains in engineered wood products (EWP) and plywood contributed to a better start of the year.

With the more favorable start to the year, the Blue Chip consensus forecast for U.S. housing starts for 2012 has been revised upward to 740,000 as of April 10, 2012, according to Boise’s press release. The final U.S. housing starts level reported for 2011 was 609,000.

“The demand level in the first quarter was stronger following the tough industry conditions and weather in 2011,” said Tom Carlile, CEO. “We are hopeful the increase in sales activity and our earnings will carry through to the rest of the year. Our liquidity puts us in a good position to respond to any improvement in the markets and take advantage of business opportunities.”

Building Materials Distribution (BMD) segment sales were $451.4 million in the first quarter 2012, up 19% from the same quarter a year ago. Volumes for the segment were up approximately 16%, with prices up about 3%.

Wood Products segment sales in the first quarter 2012 were $211.1 million, up 36% from the same quarter a year ago. The increase in sales was due primarily to increased plywood volumes and prices and increased EWP shipments, offset in part by lower EWP sales price realizations.

The company said it anticipates a “below normal demand” for the products it distributes and manufactures. Industry commodity wood product prices could be volatile in response to operating rates and inventory levels in various distribution channels. “We expect to manage our production levels to our sales demand, which will likely cause us to operate some of our facilities below their capacity,” the statement read.