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Weyerhaeuser (WY) Beats on Q1 Earnings, Revenues Lag

Weyerhaeuser Company WY reported better-than-expected results for first-quarter 2016. The company’s earnings, before special items, came in at 24 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate 20 cents. Also, the bottom line increased 26.3% from the year-ago tally of 19 cents.

Talking about Weyerhaeuser’s top-line performance, net sales of $1,835 million came in below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,934 million. Also, the result grew 6.3% year over year.

Segmental Details

During first-quarter 2016, Weyerhaeuser completed the merger with its peer Plum Creek Timber Co. Inc. The transaction is expected to strengthen the company’s assets and increase its shareholders’ value, moving forward. Following the merger completion, the company revised its business segments to better align with its current business-portfolio. Segmental details for the quarter are given below:

Timberlands: In the quarter, the segment’s revenue (net of intersegment sales) totaled $387 million, up 19.8% year over year. It accounted for 21.1% of net sales.

Real Estate, Energy and Natural Resources: The segment’s revenue, accounting for 2.1% of net sales, were $39 million, up 14.7% from the year-ago tally.

Wood Products: The segment generated revenue (net of intersegment sales) of $979 million, accounting for 53.4% of net sales. Compared with the year-ago quarter, the result was up 6.1%.

Cellulose Fibers: The segment’s revenue totaled $430 million, down 3.8% year over year. It accounted for 23.4% of net sales.

Margins

In the quarter, Weyerhaeuser’s cost of sales increased 6.5% year over year, representing 80.4% of net sales compared with 80.2% in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin fell 20 basis points (bps) to 19.6%.

Selling, general and administrative expenses comprised 6.1% of total revenue versus 5.9% in the year-ago quarter. Research and development expenses were $6 million, up from $5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (“EBITDA”) came in at $413 million versus $343 million in the year-ago quarter. EBITDA margin in the quarter was 22.5%.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

Exiting first-quarter 2016, Weyerhaeuser had cash and cash equivalents of $415 million, significantly down from $1,012 million in the preceding quarter. Long-term debt increased to $7,803 million from $4,891 million in the previous quarter.

In the quarter, Weyerhaeuser generated net cash of $47 million from its operating activities, down 46% year over year. Capital spending declined 19.7% to $57 million.

During the quarter, Weyerhaeuser paid dividends worth $241 million and repurchased $798 million of shares.

Major Events Post Q1: On May 2, 2016, Weyerhaeuser signed an agreement with International Paper Company IP to sell its five Cellulose Fibers pulp mills for approximately $2.2 billion cash. In addition, the company will be disposing its modified fiber mills each in Columbus, MS and Gdansk, Poland.

Weyerhaeuser anticipates using roughly $1.6 billion of proceeds to repay its term loans issued in relation to its share buyback program. Subject to closing conditions, the divestment will be completed in fourth-quarter 2016.   

Also, Weyerhaeuser is still working on finding a suitable alternative for its liquid packaging board facility and one publishing papers joint venture facility.

Outlook

For second-quarter 2016, Weyerhaeuser anticipates sequentially comparable earnings from the Timberland segment. The positive impact of increase in fee harvest volume of Plum Creek operations will be partially offset by hike in silviculture costs and logging expenses. In addition, realizations for Western and Southern logs are expected to be weak.

For the Real Estate, Energy and Natural Resources segment, the company anticipates sequentially comparable earnings.

For the Wood Products segment, the company anticipates sequentially higher earnings driven primarily by higher sales realizations for lumber and oriented strand board.

For the Cellulose Fibers segment, management projects sequentially higher earnings led by higher sales realizations and lower fiber and energy costs.
 
With a market capitalization of $24.1 billion, Weyerhaeuser currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the building products industry include Boise Cascade Company BCC and Universal Forest Products Inc. UFPI. While Boise Cascade sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Universal Forest Products carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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