Timberland Acquisitions / Term Loans
During Q4 2012, two timberland acquisitions were made in and around the company's existing ownership in Arkansas. Combined, Potlatch acquired approximately 9,300 acres for approximately $11.7 million, or a combined average price per acre of $1,258. In December 2012, Potlatch entered into a $12 million term loan to fund these two land acquisitions. The term loan consists of two $6 million tranches, with rates of 2.95% on the 2017 maturity and 3.70% on the 2020 maturity.
During the fourth quarter, Potlatch paid a quarterly cash dividend distribution on the company's common stock of $0.31 per share, which reflects the current dividend level for the company.
"We have a positive outlook for 2013. We expect the economy to continue to advance, driven by further improvements in the housing market. This economic backdrop should bolster our operating results, particularly in our Resource and Wood Products segments. US lumber demand jumped 6 percent in 2012 versus 2011 and is expected to increase another 10 percent in 2013. Furthermore, sawmill industry capacity is struggling to meet that higher demand after many years of poor performance, and last year's strong demand for lumber left dealers with relatively low inventory levels with which to meet that increased demand. As a result, lumber prices are trending higher, and we expect 2013 prices to remain higher than in 2012. In our Resource segment, we began to see the improvement in lumber prices work its way into higher sawlog prices. As a result, we are modestly increasing our harvest level in 2013 to 3.8 million tons, as we continue to believe sawlog prices will be significantly higher in the years ahead as demand continues to improve. Our expectations for our Real Estate segment look a lot like those for 2012, with the exception that in 2013 we don't envision any large non-strategic land sales. However, we expect to have a consistent level of rural real estate and HBU sales at slightly higher prices. With the improved rates on our new credit agreement and over $80 million of cash and short-term investments, we finished the year with a very strong balance sheet and excellent liquidity," concluded Mr. Covey.