SPOKANE, WA - Potlatch Corporation  posted total consolidated revenues of $112.4 million for its first quarter, down 8% from the same period a year ago. The company's net income of $5.1 million for Q1 represented a nearly 50% decline from its Q1 of last year.

Despite these declines, the first quarter "exceeded expectations," said Michael Covey, chairman, president and CEO of Potlatch.

Potlatch's Wood Products division faired better than the company as a whole, reflecting "strong" demand that allowed lumber mills to run at higher production levels. Wood Products revenues were $73.9 million in Q1 2012, up 7.3% from Q1 2011. What's more, operating income for the segment totaled $5.0 million in Q1 2012 compared to $2.9 million in Q1.

"Our Resource segment performed as expected in the first quarter, with harvest levels coming in as planned and log prices relatively flat to slightly down compared to the fourth quarter of last year," Covey said. "Although sawlog prices fell modestly in Q1 this year from Q4 last year, they appear to have bottomed and we expect improvement in both our Northern and Southern regions moving into Q2 and Q3.

"Our Wood Products segment results solidly exceeded our expectations, as the first quarter of 2012 experienced a nice benefit from higher lumber and plywood prices that boosted results," Covey continued. "Demand for our manufactured wood products was strong during the quarter, which allowed us to increase production and shipments. In our Real Estate segment, a large sale of HBU land in the first quarter and continued strong demand for rural real estate properties resulted in another solid quarter."

Looking ahead at the remainder of the year, Covey said Potlatch should benefit from expected upticks in housing and remodeling markets.


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