L&W, the building products distribution arm of Chicago-based USG Corporation, today reported first quarter 2010 net sales fell 30% to $248 million, compared to sales of $353 million in the first quarter 2009.
USG, in a statement released this morning, said the decline in L&W's sales was due to lower shipments across product categories and lower wallboard prices compared to the prior year. Wallboard volumes fell 21% in the quarter while sales of products other than wallboard fell 29%, the company said.
The division also reported an operating loss of $39 million, which included restructuring charges of $8 million during the quarter.
USG's United States Gypsum division reported first quarter net sales of $332 million, down 18% from sales of $403 million in the first quarter a year ago. United States Gypsum also reported an operating loss of $37 million compared to an operating loss of $21 million in the first quarter 2009.
Lower shipments and a lower average selling price for Sheetrock brand gypsum wallboard contributed to the decline in sales and operating loss, USG said.
"Some of the challenging conditions we encountered in many of our markets in 2009 began to stabilize in the fourth quarter of last year," said William Foote, chairman and CEO of USG.
"In the first quarter of this year, we began to see signs of modest improvement in wallboard demand," he added.
Overall, USG reported net sales of $716 million for the first quarter – a 17% falloff from sales of $864 million in the first quarter during the same period last year. The company also reported a net loss of $110 million compared to a net loss of $42 million in the first quarter 2009. The company's operating loss for the quarter was $82 million in contrast to an operating loss of $42 million in the same period of 2009.
"As the year progresses, we expect our operations to benefit from a seasonal improvement in demand and the many initiatives we have undertaken to reduce costs and streamline operations," Foote said.