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Plum Creek Timber rises on strong 4Q results

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Plum Creek Timber Co. rose in after-hours trading Monday after the company's fourth-quarter results topped Wall Street forecasts.

Net income grew 30 percent in the fourth quarter. The company said its business is benefiting from the recovery in residential construction, as revenue increased at its timber, real estate, and manufacturing businesses. Profits improved at its southern division and the real estate business.

Plum Creek shares rose $1.59, or 3.4 percent, to $48.90 in aftermarket trading. The stock closed unchanged at $47.31 in the regular session. It hit a four-year high of $48.26 on Friday.

The Seattle company made $79 million, or 49 cents per share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31. That's up from $61 million, or 38 cents per share, a year ago. Revenue increased 12 percent, to $354 million.

Analysts expected net income of 29 cents per share and $301 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

In 2012 Plum Creek's net income rose 5 percent, to $203 million, or $1.25 per share, from $193 million, or $1.19 per share. Revenue grew 15 percent, to $1.34 billion.

The company said its customers expect demand to keep improving as the residential construction market continues to recover and annual new home starts approach 1 million for the first time since 2007. Plum Creek forecast profit of $1.25 to $1.50 per share for 2013, with 28 to 33 cents per share in the first quarter.

Analysts project net income of $1.37 per share this year, including 30 cents per share in the first quarter.