At first glance, it would appear that Weyerhaeuser is in worse shape than it was at the same time last year.
According to first quarter financials, the company reported net earnings to common shareholders of $70 million, or $0.11 per diluted share. That’s a 28.5 percent decrease from last year, which saw net earnings of $90 million.
However, that’s largely due to after-tax charges of $80 million related to the merger with Plum Creek. Excluding special items entirely, Weyerhaeuser actually saw net earnings increase by 51.5 percent, from $99 million in 2014 to $150 million this year.
Quarter over quarter, the wood products giant saw an increase in several categories, including a 20.5 percent boost in timberlands sales, from $517 million in the fourth quarter to $609 million in the first quarter. That’s due to a partial quarter of Plum Creek harvest, as well as higher volume from legacy Weyerhaeuser timberlands.
Next quarter, the company should see higher harvest volumes from a full quarter of Plum Creek operations, but the report notes that will be offset by “seasonally higher southern silviculture costs, higher western logging expenses and slightly lower average realizations for western and southern logs,” resulting in comparable earnings to the first quarter.
Wood products saw net sales increase quarter over quarter from $943 million to $1 billion, a six percent bump up. That’s thanks to higher lumber sales realizations, but progress was slightly mitigated by lower oriented strand board sales realizations.
Lastly, cellulose fibers lost $45 million, dropping from $475 to $430 million. Weyerhaeuser expects higher earnings in the second quarter, however it announced that it sold the segment to International Paper just earlier this week.
“I am extremely proud of the work of our employees in the first quarter, as we closed the Plum Creek merger, delivered solid operating performance across each of our businesses, and completed about 35 percent of our $2.5 billion share repurchase authorization,” said Doyle R. Simons, president and CEO. “These accomplishments, and the recently announced sale of our pulp mills to International Paper, illustrate our commitment to a focused portfolio, industry-leading performance and disciplined capital allocation.”