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Weyerhaeuser (WY) Braves Headwinds on Bold Spin-Off Moves

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Weyerhaeuser Co. (WY - Free Report) successfully divested its Uruguay-based timberlands and manufacturing business to a consortium led by BTG Pactual's Timberland Investment Group (“TIG”) on Sep 1. The company secured $402.5-million cash on the closure of the deal and anticipates to incur minimal taxable expenses for the transaction.  

Per the deal, Weyerhaeuser has divested more than 300,000 acres of timberlands in North central and Northeastern Uruguay. Moreover, a cogeneration facility, veneer manufacturing plant and a seedling nursery have been sold under this deal.

We believe that such diligent spin-off moves will likely strengthen Weyerhaeuser’s inorganic growth trajectory. Over the past few quarters, the company has undertaken a number of strategic decisions to help it concentrate on its core timber, land and forest products business. For instance, it divested its liquid packaging board business, printing papers company (North Pacific Paper Company) and Cellulose Fibers pulp mills in 2016.

However, we believe that intense competition from the North American and global producers will mar this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s near-term prospects. In addition, Weyerhaeuser’s Timberlands and Wood Products segments are highly dependent on the U.S. housing market. Thus, any untoward situation influencing the construction and housing sectors will impact the company's financials. Also, increasing debt remains a major concern.

Weyerhaeuser’s shares have lost 2%, wider than the loss of 0.4% incurred by the industry, in a month’s time.

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the industry are listed below:

Potlatch Corporation’s (PCH - Free Report) earnings are anticipated to grow 5% in the next three to five years. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Trex Company, Inc. (TREX - Free Report) holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and has expected earnings growth rate of 21.3% for the next three to five years.

Rayonier Inc. (RYN - Free Report) also carries a Zacks Rank #2 and has expected earnings growth rate of 5% for the same time frame.

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