Weyerhaeuser Profit Beats as Sales of Housing in U.S. Rise

Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY) rose the most in six weeks after the U.S. lumber producer and home builder reported fourth-quarter profit that beat analysts’ estimates as earnings from home-and-lot sales rose.

Weyerhaeuser rose 4.2 percent to $21.00 at 11:26 a.m. in New York after earlier rising as much as 5.3 percent to $21.20. Shares of the Federal Way, Washington-based real-estate investment trust have risen 7.9 percent this year through yesterday.

Pretax earnings from Weyerhaeuser’s real estate division increased to $41 million, buoyed by sales of land and residential lots, the company said in a statement. Profit compares with $13 million a year earlier.

In the fourth quarter, “home closings increased 15 percent to 582 single-family homes,” compared to the third quarter, the company said. “Average margins on homes closed improved due to mix.”

Weyerhaeuser has fired workers, shut down wood-product mills and sold off land for residential development to help the company weather a protracted slump in demand for new homes in the U.S. that was exacerbated by the global economic downturn.

Higher Than Estimates

Fourth-quarter net income fell to $65 million, or 12 cents a share, from $171 million, or 32 cents, compared with a year earlier, the company said in the statement. Profit excluding one-time items such as costs for restructuring and plant closures was 14 cents, beating the 6.4 cents average of 10 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The pretax loss at its wood products unit in the quarter was $80 million, the company said today in a statement. A year earlier the loss was a $188 million.

“Excluding special items, Weyerhaeuser anticipates a smaller loss from the wood products segment in the first quarter,” compared with the fourth quarter, the company said in the statement.

Weyerhaeuser said it also expects “slightly higher selling prices for lumber and oriented strand board and increased sales volumes across all product lines.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Christopher Donville in Vancouver at cjdonville@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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