By market, the Company posted the following 2012 gross sales results:

Retail building materials
  • Fourth quarter: $159.5 million, a decrease of 3.5 percent from the same period of 2011
  • Year: $841.5 million, an increase of less than one percent over 2011

The Company is cautiously optimistic about sales to this market. It continues to focus on growing business with both big box and independent retail customers and on adding new products and improving its product mix to all customers. While retailers have been seeing signs of recovery in the housing industry and in remodeling and home improvement activities, in January, the consumer confidence index fell to its lowest level in more than a year as consumers faced a two-percent hike in payroll taxes and grew concerned about unemployment and income.

Industrial packaging/components
  • Fourth quarter: $139.2 million, up 8.3 percent over the fourth quarter of 2011
  • Year: $583.7 million, up 18.5 percent over 2011

The Company is focused on adding customers, products and services to this market, and will be integrating wood and non-wood components for packaging and other uses. Orders from existing customers slowed in the fourth quarter of 2012, many of whom voiced concerns about the economy and the federal debt; however, the Company saw healthy orders of approximately $5 million from new customers in the quarter. The Company remains optimistic about the opportunities this market presents. It intends to take advantage of its acquired capacity in this market and expects to create new product offerings for its current and prospective customers as well as to expand into new markets.

Manufactured housing
  • Fourth quarter: $81.3 million, up 20.9 percent over the same period of 2011
  • Year: $314.1 million, up 28.4 percent over 2011

Universal maintains a strong share of this market and continues to offer new product lines to customers through its distribution business. The Company’s unit sales to this market decreased by one percent in the fourth quarter. According to industry reports, fourth quarter year-over-year production of manufactured homes declined by 11.0 percent in 2012 from 2011. Annual production for 2012 was up 6.4 percent over 2011, due to strong demand early in the year for HUD-code homes related to orders from FEMA and for temporary housing in some areas of the country related to shale oil and gas development. This market remains an important part of Universal’s balanced business model.

If you liked this article you might like

Basic Materials Basically Are a Good Place to Be

Cash Flow Is a Company's Life Blood: These 6 Stocks Fit the Bill

2 Undervalued Stocks That Will Bounce Back in 2017

Timber-r-r-r ... Lumber Plays Getting Felled

Commodities Rebound May Get a Better Bounce Off Trading Floor