Day: November 21, 2008

Housing Starts Down 38% in October

Privately-owned housing starts in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 791,000. This is 4.5% below the revised September estimate of 828,000 and is 38.0% below the revised October 2007 rate of 1,275,000.
Single-family housing starts in October were at a rate of 531,000; this is 3.3% below the September figure of 549,000. The October rate for units in buildings with five units or more was 247,000.
Year-to-date, housing starts were down 31.5% in the U.S. overall, 10.3% in the Northeast, 33.6% in the Midwest, 32% in the South and 38.2% in the West.
Building Permits
Privately-owned housing units authorized by building permits in October were at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 708,000. This is 12.0% below the revised ...

U.S. LUMBER Acquires Cardinal Forest Products

Shelter Magazine reports that U.S. LUMBER has acquired Cardinal Forest Products, a distributor of lumber in Statesville, NC.
U.S. LUMBER announced it is interested in "qualified acquisitions," despite the downturn.
According to U.S. LUMBER GROUP's Web site, the company is a $325 million distributor of building materials headquartered in Atlanta, GA. The distributor has eight distribution centers and focuses on the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic ...

Louisiana-Pacific Announces ‘Right-Sizing Effort’

Louisiana-Pacific Corp., Nashville, TN, has announced a right-sizing effort," which includes eliminating 14% of its salaried work force, or about 200 positions. "We have also reduced marketing and sales expenditures, frozen salaried employee wages, and moved our IT operations into a maintenance mode," said CEO Rick Frost.
The company hopes to see cash savings of $30 million to $35 million on an annualized basis as a result of these moves.
Over the past several quarters, Louisiana-Pacific has suspended dividends, indefinitely curtailed operations at four OSB mills, and taken downtime at many other production facilities to manage working capital and preserve cash.
Louisiana-Pacific is a supplier of building products, and commodity and specialty ...

McKesson Agrees to Settle Pricing Case for $350M

McKesson Corp., San Francisco, CA, has reached an agreement to settle damage claims  of inflated prices on prescription drugs paid by private health-benefit plans and individuals. The company has agreed to pay $350 million. With the settlement, the drug distributor continues to deny the claims made in the lawsuit.
The terms are subject to final court approval.
The company will also record a reserve for outstanding and expected future claims by public entities, which is estimated to be $143 million.
As we have consistently stated, we believe the plaintiffs'allegations are without merit, and that McKesson adhered to all applicable laws,"said John H. Hammergren, CEO. "Yet when faced with the inherent uncertainty of this litigation, we determined ...