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Plum Creek Timber's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We continue to work to facilitate the development of export markets for both sawlogs and biomass, which will go to Western Europe, China, India and Turkey. Our goal is to bring this incremental demand to the geographic markets where we have a presence.

During the first quarter, we exported approximately 55,000 tons to China from Oregon, 30,000 tons to Turkey from the U.S. South. We believe that in 2012, we can grow our export sawlog business to 300,000 tons or more, roughly a 50% increase from 2011 levels.

We continue to actively manage our timberland portfolio. Late in the first quarter, we completed a large non-strategic timberland sale of approximately $84 million. The property sold consisted of 70,000 acres of Southern timberlands located primarily in the Florida panhandle. The price of over -- just over $1,200 per acre is a good value for these lands and reflects the young age of the forest, the local timber market and a higher proportion of hardwood lands when compared to Plum Creek's typical southern forest.

We continue to evaluate timberlands for both purchase and sale. During the quarter, we capped the bank markets to refinance our revolving credit agreement, and we replaced the maturing term loan agreement. As you can see from our press release, both financings were priced very attractively. The 5-year revolving credit agreement at LIBOR plus 1.25%, and the 7-year term loan priced an effective net interest cost of LIBOR plus 1%.

With these refinancings complete, we have a well-laddered debt maturity schedule at very attractive rates. Our balance sheet is in great shape, and we have excellent liquidity.

Now David will talk about the quarter and our outlook for you.

David W. Lambert

Thank you, Rick. Our first quarter results of $0.18 were about $0.05 below the midpoint of our guidance range, while the reduction is attributable to the timing of sales from our Real Estate segment. We closed on $100 million of sales during the quarter rather than the $120 million as we initially expected.

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