Builders FirstSource improved its loss from continuing operations to $21.1 million during the first quarter from a $31.2 million loss in the year-earlier period, the company announced today. Sales increased 0.9% to $162.8 million.

The Dallas-based building materials dealer said the loss from continuing operations included $900,000 in transaction costs and an $8.1 million tax valuation allowance. Adjusted loss from continuing operations lessened to $12.5 million from the $17 million loss in 2010's first quarter. The company defines adjusted loss from continuing operations as income (or loss) from continuing operations before non-cash or non-recurring items, such as debt issuance cost write-offs and tax valuation allowances.

While housing starts remained low and the new construction industry continued to suffer, company officials cited fewer competitors and the company's competitive nature as the reason for the improvements during the quarter.

"Commodity prices for lumber and lumber sheet goods were, on average, comparable over these same periods," CEO Floyd Sherman said in a statement. "We believe our improved sales performance despite the difficult macro-economic environment was due to our strong competitive position and competitors exiting our markets, and is indicative of market share gains over this time period."

The company also announced an adjusted earning before interest, taxes, depreciation or amortization (EBITDA) of negative $9.7 million, an improvement over the negative $15.3 million adjusted EBITDA the company had during first quarter 2010. BFS defines adjusted EBITDA as net income (or loss) before depreciation and amortization, interest expense, income taxes, gain or loss on sale of assets, income or loss from discontinued operations, and other non-cash or non-recurring items including asset impairments, facility closure costs, severance, recapitalization costs, expensed acquisition costs, and stock compensation expense.

"We are encouraged by our first quarter financial results, especially in light of continued housing market challenges, the difficult pricing environment and the overall state of the economy," said Sherman. "We remain optimistic about the long-term health of our industry and our ability to endure the trying conditions those of us in the housing industry continue to face."

Builders Firstsource was originally ranked No. 10 on last year's ProSales 100 list, but moved up to No. 9 following ABC Supply's acquisition of Bradco. The company operates 52 distribution centers and 46 manufacturing facilities in nine states.