NEW YORK – Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY) on Friday said second-quarter earnings more than doubled on sharply higher prices for building materials and strengthening pulp and paper prices.
Shares of the Federal Way, Wash., company were up 2.5 percent in early trading.
Weyerhaeuser reported profit of $369 million, or $1.57 a share, compared with $157 million, or 71 cents, a year earlier.
Excluding items from losing a lawsuit and the early extinguishment of debt, earnings were $1.67 per share, well above the average analyst estimate of $1.13 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Paul Latta, an analyst at McAdams Wright Ragen, said the company's second-quarter earnings outpaced analysts' expectations because it was finally fully benefiting from the 2002 acquisition of Willamette Industries.
"The rule in forest products is that any acquisition is accretive in an upcycle and dilutive in the down cycle," said Latta, who rates the stock a hold. "We hadn't really seen a meaningful upcycle until just recently."
Total revenue rose nearly 20 percent to $5.89 billion.
Prices for oriented strand board, a type of structural panel, nearly doubled from a year earlier, and lumber prices jumped about 75 percent, boosting earnings at Weyerhaeuser's building products unit. Strength at the business has supported company earnings for four straight quarters.
Lumber and structural panel prices skyrocketed in 2003 and early 2004 due to surging demand from housing construction and tight plywood supply.
Weyerhaeuser has started to show signs of improvement in other segments. The pulp and paper unit reported its first profit in five quarters as economic improvement and the weak dollar boosted prices and demand.
Earnings in its packaging unit rose from the first quarter on higher box shipments and rising prices.
The company said it expects lower third-quarter earnings from its building products unit as prices have moderated. Still, Weyerhaeuser expects to take advantage of strong market conditions in the third quarter as it continues to raise prices for pulp, paper and packaging.
Its shares rose $1.44 to $60.10 on the New York Stock Exchange Friday morning.