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Boise Cascade moves to profit in 4th quarter

BOISE, Idaho (AP) -- Plywood maker Boise Cascade moved to a profit in its fourth quarter, bolstered by strong plywood prices and better demand for the products it makes and distributes.

The company, which went public last month, reported net income of $1.3 million for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $13.8 million a year earlier. It didn't provide earnings per share figures.

Revenue climbed 27 percent to $694.6 million from $547.4 million.

In the building materials distribution unit, revenue rose 29 percent to $553.1 million as prices increased approximately 13 percent. The wood products division reported a 28 percent increase in revenue to $230.5 million on higher plywood prices and increased sales volumes for plywood, laminated veneer lumber, I-joists and lumber.

For the year, Boise Cascade Co. earned $41.5 million. In the previous year the company lost $46.4 million.

Boise Cascade cautioned that it will likely run some of its facilities below capacity as it looks to keep production levels on par with sales demand.

The company said Thursday that demand for the products it makes and distributes is still below historical levels, but that the U.S. housing market is improving and it is still optimistic that the better demand it has been seeing of late will continue in 2013. While wood product prices were favorable in 2012 and have continued into this year, Boise Cascade said that they could be volatile in response to operating rates and inventory levels in various distribution channels.

Annual revenue increased 24 percent to $2.78 billion from $2.25 billion.

Originally formed in 1913, Boise Cascade makes plywood and other wood products and building materials, supplying more than 4,000 wholesalers, home improvement centers, retail lumberyards and other customers. It bought office supply chain OfficeMax in 2003. That company then sold its paper and wood products division to Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. The private equity firm took Boise Cascade to market and still owns about 70 percent of the Boise, Idaho, company after the initial public offering. Office supply chain OfficeMax Inc. also kept a 20 percent stake.

Shares of Boise Cascade rose 30 cents to $29.25 in midday trading after rising to a new high of $29.49 earlier in the session.