Third quarter net loss at Boise Cascade improved to $3.7 million, compared with a $5.6 million loss during the same period a year ago, the company announced today. Sales increased 6% to $623.2 million for the quarter ended Sept. 30.

The Boise, Idaho-based building material producer and distributor posted an income from operations of $2.1 million, a swing into the black from the $1.4 million loss posted a year ago. During the quarter, costs and expenses rose 5% to $625 million, driven by increases in materials, labor, and other operating expenses, as well as depreciation and amortization.

The building materials distribution segment revealed a 30% increase in segment income to $6 million, while sales rose 7% to $501.5 million. Sales in the wood products division increased just over $10 million to hit $194.8 million, as the segment cut its income loss to $71,000, a dramatic improvement from the $972,000 loss during 2010's third quarter.

During the quarter, Boise Cascade received $4.6 million in income from a litigation settlement related to vendor product pricing. Of that total, $4.1 million was recorded as income in the building materials distribution division, while $500,000 was placed as income in the wood products segment.

EBITDA, which the company defines as income before interest, income taxes, and depreciation and amortization, for the distribution division increased 26% to $8.2 million, while EBITDA for the wood products segment also rose 22% to hit $7.1 million. According to the company, the increase in EBITDA in the distribution division was due to higher sales, better gross margins, and good expense control.

Overall, the company posted EBITDA of $10.6 million, a 38% increase over the same time last year.

"New single-family residential construction remained weak during the third quarter; however, we believe we are continuing to gain market share," said CEO Tom Carlile. "We have good liquidity and continue to evaluate acquisition opportunities that add value, add to our market position, or help lower our costs."