Lumber prices help boost numbers at Weyerhaeuser

Wood products producer Weyerhaeuser reported net earnings of $99 million for its first fiscal quarter, which ended March 31. Excluding an after-tax gain of $96 million on a timberland sale in Southwest Washington, the company’s profit for the quarter was $3 million. This compares with a net loss of $20 million for the same quarter in 2010. 

First-quarter net sales were $1.57 billion, a 10.5% increase over $1.42 billion in the first quarter of 2010. 

Weyerhaeuser’s wood products business, which produces lumber, plywood, oriented strand board (OSB) and engineered wood products, posted sales of $624 million in the first fiscal quarter, compared with $572 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company attributed the increase to a rise in selling prices across most product lines. Per unit manufacturing costs declined due to continued cost reductions and improved operating rates for lumber and oriented strand board. This was partially offset by increased log costs. 

The company’s real estate business, which includes its home-building operation, posted $160 million in sales for the quarter, down from $305 million in the fourth quarter of 2010. Net income was $1 million, compared with $6 million in the proceeding quarter. Home sale closings decreased 40% compared with the fourth quarter to 363 single-family homes.