Weyerhaeuser Co. announced Nov. 6 that it will indefinitely close its iLevel Veneer Technologies facility in Colbert, Ga., effective immediately. Roughly 105 workers are affected.
"Demand for engineered wood products continues to decline due to a slowdown in the housing market," Weyerhaeuser's announcement said. "As a result of these challenging market conditions, the Colbert facility will close for an indefinite period of time while we continue to balance supply with demand."
The announcement comes a week after Weyerhaeuser reported net earnings in the third quarter jumped to $280 million from $101 million in the year-earlier period. But that showing came largely from the sale of its containerboard, packaging and recycling operations (booking $303 in after-tax gains) and the sale of its Australian operations (worth $144 million in after-tax gains). Excluding extraordinary items the company reported a net loss of $3 million. It expected conditions to worse in the fourth quarter.
Net sales from continuing operations fell 24.7% in the third quarter to $2.11 billion. Weyerhaeuser's wood products operation showed a $146 million loss for the quarter, slightly worse than the $131 million loss in July-September 2007 but better than the $164 million loss in this year's second quarter. The latest results included charges of $37 million for asset impairments and income of $13 million for a reduction in the hardboard siding claims reserve.
"Average price realizations for lumber, oriented strand board and engineered lumber products improved, and manufacturing and selling, general and administrative costs declined," the company said. "These improvements were largely offset by lower shipment volumes for all of the segment's primary products, as U.S. single-family housing starts fell to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 602,000 for the third quarter."