Eagle Materials reported net earnings of $14 million during its fiscal first quarter, a substantial jump from the $807,000 in earnings it reported a year ago, the company announced today. Net sales also grew 29% to $154 million for the period ended June 30.

The Dallas-based company cited improved sales volumes across all its business lines coupled with a 32% increased increase in net sales prices for wallboard as the reason for the growth. It also said continued growth within the construction industry and its low cost operations helped drive the improved results.

The gypsum wallboard segment reported operating earnings of $14 million, a swing into the black from the $1.8 million loss posted a year ago, as sales rose 37% to $70.2 million. The gypsum paperboard unit saw operating earnings skyrocket 77% to $5.3 million behind a 2% increase in sales to $19.4 million.

During the quarter the company’s wallboard unit posted an 11% increase in sales volume to 457 million square feet as average net sales price grew 32% to $118.70 per thousand square feet. The paperboard unit saw total sales volume, including both internal and external production, increase 5% to 60,000 tons as average net sales price fell 1% to $502.89 per ton.

Eagle Materials’ cement division, including both its wholly owned and joint ventures, posted total operating earnings of $9.9 million, up 13% from the same period a year ago. Sales for the company’s wholly owned cement ventures were also up 37% to $51.8 million. The company said the unit’s operating earnings were negatively impacted by approximately $8 million in increased maintenance costs, both current and future, at its facilities.

The segment reported total sales volume of 848,000 tons, a 26% increase over last year’s first quarter. Average net sales price remained flat at $81.06 per ton.

The concrete and aggregates division swing into the black with operating earnings of $201,000. Sales increased 8% to $12.7 million. During the quarter sales volume for concrete increased 1% to 137,000 cubic yards, while sales volumes for aggregates grew 7% to 652,000 tons. The average net price for concrete improved 7% to $65.29 per cubic yard and aggregates rose 2% to $5.98 per ton.