The company posted net profits of US$9.5m compared to US$168m a year ago. Sales were also down to US$535m from US$621m.

“OSB pricing levels continued to decline in the third quarter, cutting sharply into our earnings,” said LP’s chief executive officer Rick Frost.

He said the low pricing environment reflected weak demand for building products across North America consistent with a fall-off in housing starts.

In contrast, Plum Creek Timber Company‘s profits were down only slightly to US$92m from US$96m, while sales were up to US$454m from US$427m.

A strong performance in the company’s timberland business helped offset lower profits in the resources and manufacturing divisions as lumber demand slowed from record highs in 2005. Higher MDF prices (up 17% in the third quarter) also helped to counter a 7% decline in lumber prices.

Meanwhile, Rayonier described its third quarter results as “very good”, despite a US$20m drop in net profits to US$55m. Its wood products division recorded an operating loss of US$3m, compared to a profit of US$5m a year ago.