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Retail, industrial market drives year-end gains for UFPI

BY Friday, February 19, 2016 10:16am

GRAND RAPIDS — Bolstered by mild weather and strong performance in its retail and industrial markets, Universal Forest Products Inc. reported an 8.5-percent increase in annual sales.

According to the latest earnings report from Universal Forest Products (Nasdaq: UFPI), the Grand Rapids-based wood and wood alternative products manufacturer ended 2015 with $2.9 billion in annual sales.

For the fourth quarter which ended Dec. 2015, UFPI generated net sales of  $653.6 million, a 5.4-percent increase over the same period a year ago. The company reported earnings of $80.59 million attributable to controlled interests, or $3.99 per diluted share, up from $57.55 million and $2.86 per diluted share in 2014.

Sales in UFPI’s retail business grew 13.6 percent to $230.7 million in the fourth quarter. Retail sales drove $1.1 billion in sales over the course of 2015, representing a nearly 11-percent increase over 2014.

At the same time, the company’s industrial market jumped 13.5 percent to $896.6 million for the year, while growing 4.7 percent to $209.3 million in its fourth quarter.

Meanwhile, UFPI’s construction market struggled in 2015, growing a modest 1.4 percent to $898.3 million over the previous year and declining 1.6 percent to $221.2 million in the fourth quarter.

UFPI executives cited new product sales, which totaled $260.1 million in 2015, as an additional growth driver for the company.

“Going forward, our long-term goal is to have new product sales comprise at least 10 percent of our total sales,” President and CEO Matt Missad said in a conference call with analysts.

The company also continues to look for acquisition opportunities. Universal announced two acquisitions last year: the $1.1 million deal for Australia-based Integra Packaging Proprietary Ltd. and the $1.6 million transaction for Idaho-based Rapid Wood Mfg. LLC.

“We have potential for what we call bolt-on or add-on type acquisitions in each of our other markets,” he said. “So we’re going to try to be cautious about it and try to find those that provide us with the best return in the shortest period of time.”

The company declined to offer guidance for 2016.

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