Plum Creek Timber reported total sales of $317 million in the first quarter of 2014, a 6.7% decrease over year-ago sales of $340 million. The company's operating income fell to $57 million, down 26.9% from first quarter 2013 income of $78 million.
Despite the falling revenue, the company beat expectations set by Reuters.
"Results from our timber resources segment continue to grow with higher log prices and additional harvest volumes from our recently acquired timberlands," said Rick Holley, CEO, during the company's first quarter earnings call. "Earnings were in line with our initial expectations despite difficult weather conditions that hampered both log deliveries in the South and production and shipments from our Manufacturing facilities."
On the falling net income, Holley adds, "This was solely the result of a large non-strategic timberland sale that contributed 21 cents to earnings per share in the first quarter of 2013."
The company expects to grow profits as lumber harvests increase and real estate activity grows, driven in part by timberlands and other assets acquired from Richmond, Va., company MeadWestvaco late in 2013.
“The year is off to a good start despite the severe weather conditions during the first quarter," said Holley. "We expect the strengthening fundamentals in our core timber business will support strong sawlog prices in the West and to drive ongoing sawlog price recovery in the US South."
Read the company's full earnings report here.