Weak housing market hurts USG

Building materials supplier USG swung to a second-quarter loss on a weak housing market and rising fuel costs.

The company recorded $40 million in losses, swinging from a year-ago profit of $56 million in the second quarter. Net sales were $1.25 billion, down 11.3 percent from $1.41 billion last year.

Gypsum sales were off in the United States -- USG shipped 1.9 billion square feet of gypsum wallboard during the second quarter of 2008, compared with 2.4 billion square feet shipped during last year's second quarter. The drop-off in the United States was in small part offset by higher gypsum sales in Canada and Mexico.

L&W Supply and its subsidiaries, which comprise USG's building products distribution business, reported second-quarter 2008 net sales of $542 million, down 17 percent compared with last year.

Still, USG's Worldwide Ceilings business reported second-quarter net sales of $237 million, a record for any quarter in the division’s history, according to the company.