Plum Creek Timber Co. reported today that its net income for the second quarter climbed 10% from a year earlier to reach $35 million even though revenues slipped 5%, to $258 million, mainly because of a big drop in the real estate sector related to a major land sale in 2009.
Sales in the timber segment of the Seattle-based company grew 8.1% in the second quarter from April-June 2009 to reach $133 million. Profit figures for combined timber operations weren't provided, but the company did say that its Northern Resources segment swung to a $3 million profit in the second quarter from a year-earlier loss of $7 million, while operating profit in the Southern Resources segment added $1 million to reach $24 million.
Operating income for the manufacturing segment totaled $10 million for the second quarter vs. just about zero a year before. One-fifth of that income came from the sale of equipment from the closed Pablo mill. Revenues climbed 11.3% to $138 million.
"Our second-quarter results were better than expected," Rick Holley, Plum Creek's president and chief executive officer, said in a statement. "Northern sawlog prices, both softwood in the Pacific Northwest and hardwood in the Lake States and Northeast, improved more than we had initially anticipated. Pulpwood markets throughout the country remained attractive, and improved demand from industrial panel customers led to solid gains in our manufacturing segment."
Holley also called activity in Plum Creek's real estate segment "better than expected." That area saw revenue plummet 44.8% to $43 million and operating income shrink 40.9% to $26 million. It's notable, however, that 2009's results included a sale of Wisconsin timberlands that yielded $38 million in revenue and $23 million in income.
Plum Creek describes itself as the largest and most geographically diverse private landowner in the United States, with approximately 7 million acres of timberlands as well as wood products manufacturing facilities.