AP News

Potlatch 3Q net income falls 27 percent

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Timberland management company Potlatch Corp. said Monday that its third-quarter net income fell 27 percent due to rising costs and a deferred timber harvest during the quarter.

The Spokane, Wash., company said it lumber prices to bottom out in October or November before starting to rise again in December as buyers get ready for an improving housing market in 2013. Potlatch expects housing starts to continue to increase next year, bringing firmer log and lumber prices.

The company earned $18.6 million, or 46 cents per share, for the three months ended Sept. 30 compared with $25.6 million, or 63 cents per share, a year earlier.

Revenue fell slightly to $151.9 million from $152.9 million a year ago. Costs of goods sold and sales expenses rose 5.9 percent during the quarter compared with a year ago.

The earnings exceeded Wall Street's expectations, but revenue fell short. Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 41 cents per share on revenue of $155.6 million.

The company said operating income for its resource segment fell to $23.6 million from $25.6 million for the quarter, mainly because of a previously announced deferred harvest primarily in the south. Wood products operating income jumped more than five times to $15.2 million in the quarter, compared with $2.9 million a year earlier. The improvement was due to improved pricing and increased volumes, the company said.

Shares of Potlatch rose 53 cents, or 1.4 percent, to $38.51 in morning trading Monday after rising as high as $38.77, its highest level since April 2011.

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