Weyerhaeuser's wood products division deepened its operating loss to $36 million in the first quarter from a $19 million loss during the same period a year ago, the company reported today. Company-wide, Weyerhaeuser swung to a net profit of $99 million from the $20 million net loss it recorded for 2010's first three months.The Federal Way, Wash.-based timberland owner and lumber manufacturer's wood products segment's net sales also improved by $25 million from the same period a year ago to finish at $645 million.The company's net earnings were also a $152 million improvement compared to fourth quarter 2010. The company cited a decline in per unit manufacturing costs and improved operating rates and oriented strand board as the reason for the improvement between quarters. Company officials remain optimistic about the second quarter, saying in a statement that they "anticipate a smaller loss from the segment in the second quarter due to seasonally higher sales volumes and improved operating rates."The timberlands segment almost tripled net earnings during the first quarter, to $241 million from $81 million in the 2010. Net sales rose 13%. Export demand and improved selling prices and volumes helped drive the segment's performance. Lower per-unit logging costs, bolstered by an increase in fee harvest volumes, also helped the segment.The wood product statistical breakdown:

  • Structural lumber net sales rose 8% between first quarter 2011 and first quarter 2010. Production volumes rose 11.5% to 893 million board feet.
  • Engineered solid section wood's net sales declined by $4 million to finish at $62 million. Production remained consistent at 4 million cubic feet.
  • Engineered I-joists posted a 31% decline in net sales to $33 million. Production also declined by 27% to 30 million lineal feet between first quarter 2010 and first quarter 2011.
  • Oriented strand board's net sales rose 29% to $85 million. Production also jumped almost 31% to 494 million square feet (3/8-inch equivalent).
  • Softwood plywood's net sales also jumped $1 million to $17 million. Production increased just over 10% to 53 million square feet (3/8-inch equivalent).
  • Hardwood lumber posted $58 million in net sales, a $4 million increase over the same period a year ago. Production dipped just over 1.5% to 58 million square feet (3/8-inch equivalent).