Eagle Materials' gypsum wallboard and paper operations posted an operating loss of $375,000 in its fiscal third quarter ended Dec. 31, improving from a $929,000 loss in the year-earlier quarter, on a 2% increase in revenues to $59.3 million, the company reported today.

Gypsum wallboard net sales prices slipped 3% to $86.65 per thousand square feet in the final three months of 2010 from the year period, while sales volumes were essentially unchanged at 386 million square feet, the Dallas-based company said. On the other hand, the average net sales price for paperboard jumped 15% to $477.75 per ton, offsetting a 6% drop in sales volumes to 47,000 tons.

Those results contrasted with robust gains by Eagle Materials cement, concrete, and aggregates operations. Overall, the company posted a 17% rise in fiscal third-quarter net earnings from the year before to reach $5.5 million, even though revenues fell 1% to $103.9 million.

Through the first nine months of this fiscal year, the operating earnings at Eagle Materials' gypsum wallboard and paperboard division are down 9% to $13.7 million on a 3% fall in revenues to $153.9 million.