Fourth-quarter net loss at Builders FirstSource (BFS) improved by almost $8 million from 2010’s final quarter to $16.6 million, the company announced today. The Dallas-based building material supplier posted sales of $192.7 million during the period ended Dec. 31, up 30% from a year ago.

“We accomplished this substantial sales increase despite actual U.S. single-family starts increasing only 4.7%, the average number of U.S. single-family units under construction decreasing 10.7%, and average commodity prices being relatively flat during the quarter,” said BFS CEO Floyd Sherman.

Adjusted loss from continuing operations, which the company defines as GAAP income (or loss) from continuing operations before non-cash or special items including tax valuation allowances, was $9.5 million, a $5 million improvement from a year ago.

For the quarter, BFS bettered its adjusted EBITDA, which its defines as GAAP net income (or loss) before depreciation and amortization, interest expense, income taxes, (gain) loss on sale of assets, (income) loss from discontinued operations, and other non-cash or special items including asset impairments, facility closure costs, severance, recapitalization costs, expensed acquisition costs, and stock compensation expense, by more than $9 million to a loss of only $3.3 million.  

The company’s management said it uses adjusted EBITDA because it “provides a meaningful measure of our performance because it eliminates the effects of period to period changes in taxes, costs associated with capital investments, interest expense, stock compensation expense, and other non-cash and non-recurring items.”

For the year, loss from continuing operations improved to $64.6 million from $94.3 million in 2010, driven by an 11% growth in sales to $779.1 million. Adjusted EBITDA was a $15 million loss for the year, a huge upgrade from the $43.6 million loss during the year prior. Adjusted loss from continuing operations improved almost $20 million to $36.7 million.

“Though 2011 presented us with the fewest number of U.S. single-family housing starts since this downturn began, we significantly improved our results through the continued execution of our strategy, which focuses on pricing discipline, cost containment, preserving liquidity and providing superior customer service,” said Sherman.

The company’s prefabricated components segment posted a 37% increase in sales during the fourth quarter to $35.6 million. For the year, the segment reported sales of $147.6 million, a 9% increase over 2010. The windows and doors unit revealed a fourth-quarter sales growth of 29% to reach $47.2 million, while year-end results were $183.3 million, a more than $20 million improvement over the year earlier.

Fourth-quarter sales in the lumber and lumber sheet good division jumped 33% to $54.3 million, while full-year numbers revealed a 12% rise in sales to $225 million. Millwork sales also increased, by almost $4 million, to $20.1 million for the fourth quarter, while the segment posted year-end results of $81.6 million, an almost $5 million increase from last year.

Other building products and services witnessed a 32% growth in sales to $35.5 million, while sales for the year went up 12% to reach $141.6 million.

“Our strong inventory position at year-end should allow us to cover our customer requirements in the first quarter of 2012, and also give our sales force the flexibility to continue to pursue new sales opportunities,” said Sherman.