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Weyerhaeuser (WY) Sells Pulp Mills to International Paper

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Forest product manufacturer and supplier Weyerhaeuser Company (WY - Free Report) recently signed an agreement with International Paper Company (IP - Free Report) to sell its Cellulose Fibers pulp mills for approximately $2.2 billion cash. Back in Nov 2015, the company received approval from its board of directors’ for finding strategic alternatives for its Cellulose Fibers business.

As revealed, the transaction relates to sell-off of Weyerhaeuser’s five pulp mills, including Columbus, MS; Flint River, GA.; New Bern, NC, Port Wentworth, GA and Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada. Combined, these five mills have roughly 1.9 million metric tons of production capacity. In addition, the company will be disposing its modified fiber mills each in Columbus, MS and Gdansk, Poland.

Weyerhaeuser anticipates using roughly $1.6 billion of proceeds to repay its term loans issued in relation to its share buyback program. Subject to closing conditions, the divestment will be completed in fourth-quarter 2016.   

We believe disposal of above-mentioned assets will enable Weyerhaeuser concentrate on its core timber, land, and forest products business. In addition, the company is still working on finding a suitable alternative for its liquid packaging board facility and one publishing papers joint venture facility.

Weyerhaeuser, with a market capitalization of $11.5 billion is scheduled to report first-quarter 2016 results on May 6, before the market opens. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 20 cents.

Our proven model does not conclusively show that Weyerhaeuser will likely beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for a likely earnings beat. Currently, the company carries a Zacks Rank #3 and its Earnings ESP is 0.00%.

Better-ranked stocks in the building products industry include Comfort Systems USA Inc. (FIX - Free Report) and Universal Forest Products Inc. (UFPI - Free Report) . While Comfort Systems USA sports a Zacks Rank #1, Universal Forest Products carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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