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Boise Cascade 1Q earnings jump on tax benefit

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Boise Cascade Co.'s first-quarter earnings soared, as the plywood maker booked a large income tax benefit and saw some growth in the U.S. housing market.

The Boise, Idaho, company, which held an initial public offering of its stock earlier this year, earned $80.8 million, or $2.15 per share, in the three months that ended March 31. That compares to earnings of $1.7 million, or 6 cents per share, in last year's quarter.

Not counting the $68.7 million income tax benefit, Boise Cascade earned 32 cents per share. That benefit was tied to recording net deferred tax assets when the company converted to a corporation in February.

Boise Cascade's revenue climbed 27 percent to $744.9 million.

Analysts expected, on average, earnings of 13 cents per share on $714.1 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Boise Cascade said housing start levels remain below the historical average for the past 20 years, but total and single-family U.S. housing starts improved about 36 percent and 28 percent, respectively, compared to last year's quarter.

Revenue from the company's wood products segment climbed 28 percent to $269.2 million, due in part to higher plywood prices and laminated veneer lumber volume. Price changes also helped Boise Cascade's building materials distribution segment revenue grow 29 percent to $581.1 million.

The company's selling and distribution expenses also climbed 6 percent to $57 million.

Boise Cascade said it remains optimistic that recent improvements in product demand will continue, but it expects to operate its engineered wood products facilities below capacity until demand picks up some more.

The company makes plywood and other wood products and building materials. It supplies more than 4,500 wholesalers, home improvement centers, retail lumberyards and other customers.

Company shares climbed 1.7 percent, or 51 cents, to $30.78 Monday morning, while broader trading indexes fell slightly.