Universal Forest Products closing a half-dozen plants

Published 6:15 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Wood production company Universal Forest Products Inc. said Monday that it is closing a half-dozen plants in the United States and Canada to deal with the weak housing market.

The Grand Rapids-based company said facilities in Sanford and Stanfield, N.C.; Elkhart and Westville, Ind.; Gulfport, Miss; and part of its operation in Thorndale, Ontario, will not be needed when the housing market recovers and are expected to be sold. The operations are being consolidated into other plants.

“In a housing market that continues to deteriorate, we must proactively manage our assets and operations, position our company for growth when housing stabilizes, and take advantage of opportunities in our three other core markets,” President and Chief Executive Michael Glenn said in a statement.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The company said it expects to take a $9 million charge in the fourth quarter of 2007 to write down the value of property, plants and equipment, as well as severance packages and other expenses.

The sale of the plants and other real estate is expected to generate about $38 million in pretax cash flow in 2008.

Universal Forest Products also said it has temporarily closed eight other operations.

The company makes and sells wood and wood-alternative products for do-it-yourself and retail home centers; structural lumber products for the manufactured housing industry; engineered wood parts for the site-built construction market and specialty wood packaging for various industries.

Universal Forest Products, with about 10,000 employees in North America, posted sales of about $2.6 billion in 2006.

On the Net:

Universal Forest Products Inc.: http://www.ufpi.com