Weyerhaeuser’s profit doubles, but investors aren’t impressed
The Federal Way-based lumber, wood products and real-estate company reported fourth-quarter net income of $143 million as revenue rose 24 percent.
Seattle Times news services
Weyerhaeuser reported Friday that its fourth-quarter net income more than doubled, exceeding analysts’ expectations.
But the news didn’t impress investors, who pushed down the stock of the Federal Way-based lumber, wood products and real-estate company. The shares closed Friday down 55 cents, or 1.7 percent, at $30.95.
Weyerhaeuser earned $143 million, or 26 cents a share, in the three months through Dec. 31, up from $65 million, or 12 cents a share, in the same quarter the year before.
Revenue rose 24 percent to $2 billion from $1.62 billion, as prices and sales volumes rose for lumber, demand rose for logs from earlier in the year and the company had a longer list of homes due to be sold.
The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 20 cents a share on $1.83 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.
But the better-than-expected results were “generated by lot and land sales in the real estate segment that can be very volatile from quarter to quarter, and this quarter were unusually high,” Joshua Zaret, a New York-based analyst at Longbow Research, said in an email. “Higher raw material costs in wood products also constrained earnings.”
Earnings from lumber were disappointing, even as prices for building materials have risen as the U.S. housing market recovers, Mark Connelly, a New York-based analyst at Credit Agricole Securities USA, said in an email.
“All of the outperformance was in land sales,” Connelly said. “You have to take them out to see performance versus expectations. So today’s results were ‘just OK.’ ”
Weyerhaeuser last year increased its dividend as it benefited from a stronger housing market. For the current quarter, it expects higher lumber volumes, better prices for logs and a slight profit from its homebuilding division. It expects lower earnings in its cellulose-fibers division.
The housing market began to recover in 2012, helped by stable job gains and record-low mortgage rates. Home prices rose steadily, and builders finished their best year for residential construction since 2008. Most economists expect the housing recovery will strengthen in 2013.
Weyerhaeuser earned $385 million, or 71 cents a share, up from $331 million, or 62 cents a share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $7.06 billion from $6.22 billion.