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Weyerhaeuser to chop 1,500 jobs

FEDERAL WAY, Wash. – Weyerhaeuser Co. on Tuesday said it would cut about 1,500 employees, or 6.3 percent of its global work force, as part of an ongoing plan to scale back operations to focus on timberlands and wood products.

About 1,000 of the jobs will be cut at Weyerhaeuser’s Federal Way headquarters, where 2,500 people work. Weyerhaeuser swung to a loss in the second quarter, hurt by a slump in U.S. housing that walloped sales of its lumber, panels and other products used in construction.

Spokesman Bruce Amundson said the layoffs are largely in support services for paper and packaging units that have been sold.

The company has taken several actions to reduce its size in recent years, including the $6 billion sale of its containerboard unit to International Paper Co., which closed this week, and combining its fine paper business with Domtar Corp.

In May the company said it planned to sell its Australian timber manufacturing and distribution business to New Zealand-based forest products company Carter Holt Harvey. Maritime shipping and railway assets also are reportedly for sale.

“This is part of our resizing of the organization to reflect our smaller footprint,” Amundson said.

About 900 of the layoffs will take place this year and 600 next year.

Weyerhaeuser had about 37,900 employees at the end of 2007, and about 14,000 went to International Paper in the containerboard packaging sale.

The company currently employs about 23,900 salaried and hourly workers.

The layoffs were announced Tuesday as Weyerhaeuser reported a quarterly loss of $96 million, compared with a profit of $32 million a year earlier. Results, however, weren’t as bad as Wall Street expected.

The loss amounts to 45 cents a share for the three months ended June 29, compared with a profit of 15 cents per share for the same quarter last year.

Excluding items, Weyerhaeuser earned $7 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with earnings of $104 million, or 48 cents per share, in the 2007 quarter.


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