April 29, 2009 in Business

In brief: Potlatch Corp. reports earnings ahead of last year’s first quarter

 

Potlatch Corp. reported improved first quarter results, partially attributable to a large timberland sale in Arkansas.

The company reported net earnings of $24.8 million, or 62 cents per share, compared to net earnings of $10.3 million, or 26 cents per share, during the first quarter of 2008.

Potlatch is a real estate investment trust with about 1.6 million acres of timberland in Idaho and three other states. During the first quarter, the company sold 24,500 acres in Arkansas for $43.3 million.

However, weak markets hampered the company’s wood product segment, which lost $11.2 million during the first quarter, said Mike Covey, Potlatch’s chairman, president and CEO. Most of Potlatch’s mills reduced production during the first quarter to curtail losses.

Covey said he expects low demand for wood products to continue throughout 2009, but the mills should return to a break-even point during the second quarter.

Becky Kramer

Coeur d’Alene

Hecla gains from selling mill, shelving worker retirement plan

Hecla Mining Co. reported first quarter income of $3.9 million on Tuesday, compared to net income of $12.1 million during the first quarter of 2008.

The company’s revenue rose to $54.7 million during the first quarter, up from $37.5 million during the same period in 2008.

Hecla netted a $6.2 million gain on the sale of the Velardeña mill in Mexico. The company also recorded a $9 million gain from discontinuing a retirement plan for some employees at the company’s Greens Creek Mine in Alaska. The program was run by a previous owner of the mine.

Hecla produced 2.86 million ounces of silver during the first quarter, at cash costs of $4.67 per ounce.

Phil Baker, Hecla’s president and CEO, said the company also repaid a $40 million bridge loan during the quarter, and $8 million in other debt.

Becky Kramer

Spokane Valley

Citing the recession, Key Tronic reports lower quarterly earnings

Spokane Valley contract manufacturer Key Tronic Corp. reported third quarter earnings of $300,000, or 3 cents per share, compared with $1.2 million, or 11 cents per share, for the same period of fiscal 2008.

The publicly held company reported $7 million less in sales year over year – $44.2 million compared to $51.5 million in the third quarter of 2008.

Chief Financial Officer Ron Klawitter summarized the main reason for the decline: “It’s the recession,” he said.

Existing customer orders are off significantly, Klawitter said after Tuesday’s earnings call. On the other hand, the number of new customers the company has signed is up from last year, he added.

Tom Sowa


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