Ply Gem Holdings Inc. reported today that its net loss before unusual items for the fourth quarter of 2008 nearly tripled from the year earlier to total $27.9 million, swinging the manufacturer of exterior building products to a $55.5 million loss for the year. But those numbers include a $250 million non-cash goodwill charge taken during the quarter.

Net sales in the quarter dropped 26.2% to $234.5 million while sales for the year declined 13.8% to $1.18 billion.

"Ply Gem's fourth quarter and full year sales and EBITDA results reflect the challenging market conditions that continue to exist in the current economic environment," Ply Gem president and CEO Gary E. Robinette said in a news release. "We continue to pursue the initiatives that are helping us compete effectively in this historic housing slump. We continue to realign our cost structure for current and future market demand. At the same time, we are focused on maximizing cash flow and outperforming the market place in all business units, allowing us to emerge stronger when the economy recovers."

The $250 million goodwill impairment charge comes on top of a similar $200 million charge taken in the third quarter. "These non-cash impairment charges are a result of the depressed market conditions that currently exist in residential new construction and remodeling markets," said Shawn K. Poe, Ply Gem's vice president and chief financial officer. "These goodwill impairment charges did not affect Ply Gem's cash position, cash flow from operating activities, revolver availability or liquidity position and does not have any affect on current or future operations of the company."