The building slump continues to hurt sales for two of the LBM industry’s top players, as Building Materials Holding Corp. (BMHC) and Builders FirstSource both released disappointing third-quarter results on Oct. 25.
BMHC reported $618 million in third-quarter sales, a drop of 24 percent from $818 million in the same quarter last year. The nation’s fourth largest pro dealer posted $4.2 million in net income from the third quarter, which ended on Sept. 30. This compares to $35.3 million in the third quarter of 2006.
Income from discontinued operations included a gain of $3.1 million from the sale of three BMC West yards in Colorado in September 2007.
“We’re facing one of the most challenging business environments the home-building industry has experienced in decades,” said Rob Mellor, BMHC’s chairman, president and CEO, during a conference call with analysts. Single-family starts declined 31 percent in September, he pointed out. “Even permits and starts for multi-family homes were down sharply in September,” he added.
SelectBuild, the San Francisco company’s construction services division, was particularly hard hit by building permit drops. With key markets of California, Arizona, Nevada and Florida, SelectBuild showed a 32 percent slide in sales during the past quarter, to $299 million from $438 million in the third quarter of 2006.
|Q3 Net income|
|Down 88 percent|
|Down 24 percent|
BMC West, the company’s distribution arm, posted sales of $319.7 million, a decrease of 16 percent from $379.7 million in the same quarter of 2006. Income dropped 34 percent, from $31.4 million last year to $20.6 million this year.
BMHC executives assured analysts that the company is in compliance with all its credit facilities and that its bankers are not getting nervous. “The banks that we deal with…have a very good perspective on the dynamics of the business,” said senior vp and CFO Bill Smartt. The company continues to aggressively reduce overhead, he said. BMC West reduced payroll, benefits and incentives by $3.9 million, compared to the third quarter of 2006, while SelectBuild reduced the same expenses by $9.2 million.
SelectBuild has reduced its headcount by approximately 5,000 since the middle of last year, according to senior vp and CEO Mike Mahre.
Employee downsizing also came up during the Builders FirstSource earnings conference on Oct. 26, with one analyst expressing concern over “cut[ting] into muscle” with further layoffs.
|Q3 Net loss|
|Down from $17.3 million gain last year|
|Down 27.4 percent|
“We continued [headcount reductions] in October, and we will continue on throughout the duration of the correction trying to make appropriate adjustments in our stacking levels,” said Bill Horn, the company’s senior vp and CFO.
Four days later, Builders FirstSource announced that Kevin O’Meara, the company’s president and chief operating officer, was leaving to seek other opportunities. There are no plans to fill his position at this time, according to a prepared statement. [See sidebar]
Builders FirstSource reported sales of $414 million for the