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Plum Creek Timber 3Q net income up 56 percent

October 24, 2011

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SEATTLE—Plum Creek Timber Company Inc. said Monday that its third-quarter net income jumped 56 percent as demand remained strong and wood prices rose. But the company said the timber market will likely stay flat during the fourth quarter.

The company said its net income for the quarter ended Sept. 30 was $50 million, or 31 cents per share, compared with $32 million, or 20 cents per share, during the same period last year.

Revenue during the quarter was $293 million, up from $259 million in the same period last year.

Earnings beat analyst expectations for net income of 30 cents per share, although revenue was slightly lower than the $298.5 million analysts expected, according to survey by FactSet.

The company said its results were helped by rising wood prices. Northern Resources "sawlog" prices rose 7 percent from the same period last year, to $4 per ton. Pulpwood prices jumped 8 percent to $3 per ton on strong demand.

Plum Creek Timber downplayed hopes for a stronger fourth quarter.

"Overall, timber and rural land markets appear to be stable and the company does not expect to experience meaningful improvement in its markets during the coming quarter," the company said in a statement.

The company said it expects to harvest about 4 million tons of timber during the fourth quarter, bringing the full-year 2011 harvest in line with last year's total of 15.4 million tons.

The company said it expects fourth-quarter earnings between 37 and 42 cents per share. Analysts had projected 38 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Shares of the company fell 7 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $36.59 in after-hours trading.