Weyerhaeuser has reported net earnings of US$99m for the first quarter of 2011, compared to a net loss of US$20m a year earlier.

The firm reported net sales of US$1.6bn (2010: US$1.4bn).

The profits include an after-tax gain of US$96m on the previously announced sale of 82,000 acres of non-strategic timberland in south-west Washington. Excluding this, the company’s net earnings were US$3m. The wood products division reported net sales of US$624m, a US$52m increase compared to net sales of $572m in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Weyerhaeuser attributes this to an increase in selling prices across most product lines and decline in per unit manufacturing costs due to continued cost reductions and improved operating rates for lumber and OSB.

The gains were partially offset by increased log costs.

The firm expects a smaller loss from the segment in the second quarter of 2011 due to seasonally higher sales volumes and improved operating rates.