Universal Forest Q3 earnings dip despite sales increase

Grand Rapids, Mich.-based Universal Forest Products reported third-quarter net income of $2.6 million, down 75.2% from $10.1 million reported for the same period last year.

Sales for the quarter were $480.6 million, up 4.9% from $457.8 million for the same period of 2009.

The company said a 52% spike in lumber products in the spring impeded earnings. Lumber prices have stabilized in the third quarter, however inventories were built earlier in the year, according to Universal.

Sales to industrial and manufactured housing customers increased 19.3% and 18.2%, respectively, during the quarter, while sales to site-built construction customers rose 1.6%. Only do it yourself/retail saw a sales decrease, of 7.7%, due to weak demand that resulted in slow retail sales, the company said.

“This was the most challenging lumber market I’ve seen in my 36 years with the company, and I’m proud of the way our people managed through it,” said CEO Michael B. Glenn. “Frankly, this type of market has the potential to wipe out an entire year’s profits for most companies that operate in our industries. Fortunately, our agility and diverse business model have allowed us to generate more than $17 million in net earnings for the year so far. With more than $58 million in cash and only $53 million in debt, we have the resources to take advantage of opportunities that arise. We remain in an enviable position in our markets.”