Weyerhaeuser said yesterday that its second-quarter profit rose 13. 8 percent, helped by a gain on the forest-product company's sale of...
Weyerhaeuser said yesterday that its second-quarter profit rose 13.8 percent, helped by a gain on the forest-product company’s sale of its British Columbia operations.
Federal Way-based Weyerhaeuser, which makes products ranging from lumber to office paper, reported a profit of $420 million, or $1.71 a share, compared with $369 million, or $1.57 a share, in the year-earlier period. Sales edged up 1.9 percent to $5.84 billion from $5.73 billion last year.
Excluding a gain of $110 million, or 45 cents a share, related to the sale of the company’s operations in coastal British Columbia, a charge of $44 million related to a planned repatriation of $1.1 billion of eligible Canadian earnings, as well as other items, Weyerhaeuser would have reported profit of $1.34 a share in the latest period.
The results topped analysts’ expectations for profit of $1.19 a share on sales of $5.84 billion, according to a Thomson Financial survey. The earnings news pushed Weyerhaeuser’s stock up $1.36, or 2 percent, to $67.87 yesterday.
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Weyerhaeuser said third-quarter earnings will fall slightly below second-quarter results, due to lower harvest and sales from normal seasonal shutdowns. Export prices are expected to be modestly higher, but not enough to offset anticipated declines in domestic log prices. Weyerhaeuser is considering ways to increase returns to shareholders, Chief Executive Steven Rogel said in a conference call yesterday with investors and analysts.
“We recognize that many of our businesses face significant long-term challenges,” Rogel said. “We can’t be satisfied with our current performance.”
The company is “working on other strategies” and is “targeting action on underperforming businesses and mills,” he said. “We are considering all options and will take actions to improve performance and shareholder returns.”
Rogel is under pressure from Franklin Resources, the biggest publicly held U.S. mutual-fund company, to boost investor returns. Franklin disclosed in April that it bought $1.15 billion in Weyerhaeuser shares, or a 7.1 percent stake, saying that the company is undervalued.
Weyerhaeuser rival International Paper earlier this week announced a plan to sell or spin off assets worth $8 billion to $10 billion, including 6.8 million acres of U.S. timberlands. Investors may be asking Rogel to consider shedding Weyerhaeuser’s 6.4 million acres of forests, D.A. Davidson analyst Steven Chercover has said.
Rogel’s comments and the pressure Weyerhaeuser is facing from Franklin Resources were reported by Bloomberg News.