Potlatch's Third-Quarter Profit Jumps

The company also will receive $40 million from a U.S.-Canada trade dispute settlement.
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Potlatch (PCH) - Get Report, a real estate investment trust, said its third-quarter earnings more than doubled, helped by improved performance in its pulp and paperboard and consumer products segments.

The company earned $24.2 million, or 62 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $11.1 million, or 38 cents a share, a year ago. Adjusted for items, earnings were 39 cents a share, in line with analysts' estimate.

Fourth-quarter revenue fell 1.8% from a year ago to $398.1 million, as against analysts' expectation of $420.4 million.

The Spokane, Wash.-based company said that as a result of settlement of the softwood lumber trade dispute between the U.S. and Canada, it expects to receive an estimated $40 million payment within six months of the effective date of Oct. 13.

By segment, third-quarter revenue from the pulp and paperboard segment rose 1.9% to $154.4 million, and from consumer products it rose 18.5% to $113.2 million. However, revenue from the resource segment fell 6.7% from a year ago to $84.7 million; revenue from land sales and development fell 83.6% to $1.1 million, and revenue from wood products fell 10.3% to $117.5 million.

''Pulp, paperboard and consumer tissue markets are expected to remain strong for the remainder of 2006, with some additional strengthening of paperboard markets likely. These improvements are expected to be partially offset by continued overall poor markets for lumber and higher wood fiber costs, especially for our Idaho pulp and paperboard operation, due to very high chip prices resulting at least partly from sawmill curtailments in the West,'' the company said. ''Although we have not seen significant erosion of log prices in our operating areas, it is possible that weak markets will cause log prices to decline in the future.''

Shares of Potlatch were trading up 6 cents, or 0.2%, at $40.79 Tuesday.

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