Universal Forest Products announces closings

Universal Forest Products, the Grand Rapids, Mich., maker of engineered wood components, has announced plans to shut a number of facilities, some permanently, as a result of the housing market slowdown. The closures are expected to result in a charge of approximately $8.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

In a prepared statement, the company said it believes it can consolidate operations and serve the same geographic areas through greater efficiencies. Therefore, five of the facilities will not be reopened. They are located in Stanfield and Sanford, N.C.; Gulfport, Miss.; Elkhart and Westville, Ind.; and a portion of the operations in Thorndale, Ontario, Canada. The sale of these facilities, along with other excess real estate, is expected to generate approximately $38 million in 2008.

Due to current market conditions, Universal Forest Products has temporarily closed eight other operations and consolidated them into existing locations.

Universal Forest Products reported net sales of $2 billion for its first nine months of 2007, down from $2.17 billion in the corresponding period of 2006. Year-to-date net earnings for 2007 were $32 million, compared to $60.9 million for the first three quarters of 2006.