Eagle Materials fell into the red during its fiscal fourth quarter ended March 31 with a $10.8 million net loss from a $1.9 million profit during the same period a year ago, the company announced today. The loss comes on $95.4 million in revenues, down $2 million.

For fiscal year 2011, which ended March 31, net earnings fell by half to $14.8 million on a more than $5 million decline in net sales to $462.2 million.

The Dallas-based wallboard and cement manufacturer posted a gross loss of $2.2 million, continuing the downward trend from an $870,000 gross profit last year. Operating earnings were $3.9 million, a 60% decline from fourth quarter 2010.

The company's gypsum wallboard segment suffered a $2.7 million operating loss, more than doubling the operating loss from a year ago, on $50.7 million in revenues. Revenues fell only $1 million from end quarter to end quarter. For the year, the gypsum wallboard segment operating profit shrank by $200,000 to reach $1.2 million and sales declined $6.1 million to $204.6 million.

The gypsum paperboard segment fared better as it increased operating earnings by just over $100,000 to reach $2.3 million for the quarter, while sales fell $1.3 million compared with the same period a year ago. As for the fiscal year, operating profit decreased 18% to $12.1 million even though revenues increased 25% to $67.2 million.

Gypsum wallboard production was 428 million square feet during the fourth quarter, a 20 million square foot decline from 2010's final quarter. Production for the year also declined to 1.75 billion square feet. The company produced 19 million tons of paperboard internally during the final quarter, a slip of 1 million tons compared to a year earlier. For the year, paperboard production was 72 million tons, again a decline of only 1 million tons compared to 2010.

Together, the wallboard segments produced operating earnings of $13.3 million for the year, an 18% decline compared to 2010. For 2011's final quarter, the combined segments posted revenues of $64.8 million, a 3% decline from last year. Operating loss was $420,000 for the combined divisions, a swing into the red from the $1.1 million operating profit the segments had a year ago.