Weyerhaeuser Co. announced Friday its Wood Products division recorded a $162 million pretax loss during the second quarter. That's just $2 million better than it recorded in the year-earlier quarter but a $104 million improvement from its loss in the opening three months of 2009.

Those numbers include $15 million in the second quarter and $71 million in the first quarter to cover closures, restrictions, and asset impairments. Federal Way, Wash.-based Weyerhaeuser also took a $19 million pretax charge in the first quarter for an agreement in principle to settle litigation involving alders.

"Continued cost control measures, lower log costs and slightly improved softwood lumber prices more than offset lower engineered wood products prices," Weyerhaeuser said of wood products' second-quarter performance. As for the third quarter now under way, the company said it expects a smaller loss from operations "due to improved operating efficiencies, cost control initiatives, and modest improvements in softwood lumber and oriented strand board prices. We will continue to take additional downtime to balance supply with demand."

The Wood Products division's $162 million helped drive the overall company to report a $96 million net loss in the second-quarter, $10 million worse than it did in the year-earlier period.

"Although we've begun to experience some recovery in housing sales and starts, it is not yet clear that this improvement is driven by sustainable shifts in market fundamentals, and therefore our timberlands, wood products and real estate businesses continue to operate in an environment of uncertainty," Dan Fulton, Weyerhaeuser's president and CEO, said in a statement. "We continue to reduce costs to make our businesses more competitive, and we continue to adjust our harvest and production levels to meet market demand."