Weyerhaeuser 1Q net income jumps on housing rebound

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. (AP) - Weyerhaeuser Co., one of the world's largest lumber companies, said Friday that its first-quarter net income soared, as the continued rebound in the housing market boosted demand for its products.

Homebuilders, and the companies that supply them, took a big hit during the Great Recession and the years that followed. But over the past year, better economic conditions and record-low interest rates have sent more buyers back to the market, boosting profits for companies like Weyerhauser.

The Federal Way, Wash.-based company earned $144 million, or 26 cents per share, for the three months ended March 31, up from $41 million, or 8 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue increased 31 percent to $1.95 billion from $1.49 billion.

The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 23 cents per share on $1.84 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company said its wood products business reported its best quarterly results since 2005, helped by the strengthening housing market.

For the current quarter, the company said it expects higher sales volumes across all of the business' product lines, but also slightly lower average selling prices for some products and slightly higher raw material costs.

Weyerhaeuser shares slipped 9 cents to $31.29 in morning trading after rising as high as $32 earlier, its highest level since June 2007.