SPOKANE, WA -- Potlatch Corp. reported a 16% increase on sales of $122.2 million for its first quarter.

Net earnings for the quarter were $7.7 million.

“The year is off to a good start in each of our business segments,” said Michael Covey, chairman, president and CEO of Potlatch. “Favorable logging conditions in Idaho allowed our Resource segment to roll forward some of our planned harvest for the year, in order to capture better than anticipated pricing. Our Wood Products segment benefitted from relatively strong lumber prices in January and February, though prices have recently softened. Our Real Estate segment had another solid quarter, completing the first of three phases of a non-strategic and rural real estate land sales transaction in Idaho along with a continued steady flow of other HBU and rural recreational land sales.”


Looking ahead, Covey said, "With housing starts expected to show only modest improvement during the year, business conditions for both our Resource and Wood Products segments are likely to continue to be somewhat challenging. However, U.S. log exports to China continue to grow and domestic repair and remodel activities are expected to increase, which will act as a counterbalance to continued lower housing starts. At this time, we still expect our 2011 harvest to be approximately 4.2 million tons. In our Wood Products business, we expect lumber prices to remain soft for the remainder of the year, but we expect the segment to remain cash flow positive each quarter."
 
Posted by Rich Christianson

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