MONTREAL, QUEBEC - Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) second quarter sales reached $428.1 million, up 24.2% from $344.8 million a year ago.
"Stella-Jones produced solid operating results in the second quarter driven by healthy demand in its core markets and a wider reach in the residential lumber category. Margins benefited from further selling price adjustments in response to evolving market conditions in the untreated railway tie market and from greater network efficiency. Finally, our significant operating cash flow was mainly invested in working capital to support expected growth," said Brian McManus, CEO.
The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. on May 22, 2014 generated additional sales of $27.3 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by about $38.1 million when compared with last year. (Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $17.9 million, or 5.2%.)
Railway tie sales amounted to $194.8 million, up 37.7% from $141.5 million last year. Sales of utility poles reached $136.7 million, an increase of 12.4% compared with $121.6 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales increased 2.2%.
Sales of residential lumber totalled $60.9 million, up from $49.4 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a healthy economy as well as in Western Canada, mostly as a result of increasing reach into British Columbia. Industrial product sales were $25.4 million, compared with $25.1 million a year ago, mainly due to the additional contribution of the Boatright assets and the foreign currency conversion effect. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales were $10.4 million, versus $7.2 million last year, due to the timing of timber harvesting.
Net income for the second quarter of 2015 increased 35.1% to $38.9 million.
Railway tie demand is expected to remain healthy for the remainder of 2015. In the utility pole market lower resource prices have resulted in decreased demand for special projects utility pole demand should improve, as "an increasing number of poles are approaching the end of their service life and will need to be replaced," McManus said.
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