February 10, 2010 in Business

Potlatch posts higher earnings

By The Spokesman-Review

Potlatch Corp. Tuesday reported higher earnings for 2009, and the fourth quarter.

Net earnings for the quarter were $2.9 million, or seven cents per share, on revenues of $104.1 million. The Spokane-based timber and real estate company lost $4.3 million, or 11 cents per share, or revenues of $93.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2008.

For the full year, Potlatch reported net income of $77.3 million, or $1.93 per share, on $476.2 million in revenues. In 2008, the company earned $52.6 million, or $1.32 per share, on revenues of $440 million.

Chief Financial Officer Eric Cremers said Potlatch operations generated more than enough cash to cover dividends and capital investment despite a timber harvest off company lands of 3.8 million tons, substantially below a sustainable 5.1 million tons.

Chairman Mark Covey said he expects results to improve in 2010, especially in the second half, when an increase in housing starts should sustain a recent upturn in lumber prices. Timber harvest could reach 4.2 million tons, he said.

Potlatch shares closed Tuesday at $30.52, up 21 cents.

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