The sale of timberland helped
more than double second-quarter earnings from a year ago, and the company said it's seeing encouraging signs in wood-product pricing.
The company earned $157 million, or 71 cents a share, on sales of $4.9 billion in the second quarter, up from earnings of $72 million, or 32 cents a share, on sales of $4.9 billion last year. The latest quarter included charges and gains that net out to a gain of 30 cents, putting operating earnings at about 41 cents. On that basis analysts had been forecasting earnings of 26 cents.
Sales of timberland resulted in pretax earnings of $300 million in the second quarter, up from $162 million last year. Wood products had a pretax loss of $53 million, compared with earnings of $64 million last year, and containerboard, packaging and recycling posted pretax earnings of $108 million, up from $75 million.
"Late in the second quarter we saw some promising signs in the prices for wood products, a trend that should continue into the third quarter," he company said. "Unfortunately, the markets for pulp, uncoated free sheet and containerboard are expected to remain challenging."
Analysts expect earnings of 37 cents a share in the third quarter and $1.21 a share for all of 2003.
Weyerhaeuser's shares were recently up 23 cents, or 0.4%, to $56.38.