Higher prices drove Nashville-based L.P. Building Products’ OSB segment to an EBITDA gain of $68 million during the fourth quarter, compared to a $5 million loss for the same period a year earlier, as sales rose 86% to $243 million for the same period. Company officials told analysts in a call last week that the higher product prices—averaging $189 per thousand feet in 1Q 2012 compared to $331 in 4Q 2012—added $90 million in revenues to the segment. Volume increased 16% during the fourth quarter, in part due to L.P.'s acquisition of wood-products maker Canfor's 50% share in the pair's Peace Valley OSB mill joint venture. For the year, OSB catapulted out of the red to record EBITDA gains of $166 million compared to a loss of $18 million in 2011 as sales increased 50% for the period to $814 million.

Officials say the company’s U.S. mills are operating at full capacity. Moving that product through the supply chain is still a challenge, LP CEO Curtis Stevens told analysts, as the dealer and distributor network struggles to obtain credit needed to build inventories. “There’s very little inventory,” he said. “[The distribution channel] wants us to be their bank and we don’t’ want to be their bank. They’re going to have to figure out how to get more financing.”

Overall, L.P. reversed its $57 million net loss for the fourth quarter of 2011 to record a $76 million gain for the quarter as sales increased 47% to $459 million for the period. For the year, L.P. grew its EBITDA by $208 million over 2011 to post a $203 million gain in 2012 on a sales gain of 27% to $1.7 billion.


BlueLinx, Atlanta, is seeking to amend its $400 million revolving credit facility to increase its debt limit by $22.5 million, following a $40 million rights offering in January. The company increased its long term debt by approximately $40 million, totaling $368.4 million at the close of FY 2012. During the year, the company borrowed $550.3 million from its revolving facilities and paid back $473.3 million.

Overall, the distributor improved on its year-earlier $38.6 million loss to record a loss of $23 million during 2012 as sales nudged upward to $1.9 billion in 2012 from $1.76 billion a year earlier. Margins improved slightly to 12% for 2012 from 11.8% a year earlier.


Simpson Manufacturing, parent of fastener maker Simpson Strong-Tie, reported an operating gain of $5.03 million for its North American business during the fourth quarter, a 51% increase from the year-earlier quarter, as sales rose 10% to $113.3 million for the same period. For the year, the company's operating income increased 5% from 2011 to $71.6 million as sales, fueled by higher volumes and two key acquisitions, increased 10% to $522.9 million for the same period. Overall, the company reported an increase in sales to dealers and distributors during 2012 while sales to all but major home centers decreased; the company said sales to major home centers increased but did not disclose figures.


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