LP posts $81 million loss

Louisiana-Pacific, one of the industry’s largest producers of oriented strand board (OSB) and other wood products, reported a second-quarter net loss of $81 million, compared to a net loss of $23 million in the second quarter of 2007.

Sales were $387 million for the second quarter, down 16 percent from $461.2 million in the year-ago period.

For the first six months, LP has recorded a loss of $127 million, wider than the $60.6 million loss during the first half of 2007.

The company took “significant curtailments in the quarter to match supply with orders,” said CEO Rick Frost in a prepared statement. “These shutdowns, coupled with significantly higher material costs, put downward pressure on our margins.”

Other non-operating costs listed for this past quarter included a loss of $5.3 million associated with a facility explosion and a loss of $1.2 million connected to a contractor who defaulted on a construction project.

Frost also noted a $48 million charge related to the settlement in an OSB antitrust lawsuit. Nashville-based LP is the fifth company to come to a settlement in the antitrust case, filed in 2006, which alleges that OSB manufacturers began conspiring together in 2002 to artificially reduce the supply and inflate prices of OSB.

Four other defendants have reached settlements so far: Potlatch, Huber Engineered Woods, Ainsworth and Georgia-Pacific.

All the companies have denied the accusations as part of their settlements, including LP, which wrote in a statement that it came to the settlements “in order to limit the risks and costs associated with at least two lengthy jury trials.”

“LP has vigorously contested the plaintiffs’ allegations and vehemently denies that it violated any U.S. antitrust law or any other law,” the company said in a statement.