Universal Forest Products Inc. (NASDAQ:UFPI) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript

Feb 23, 2018 • 08:30 am ET


Universal Forest Products Inc. (NASDAQ:UFPI) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Preliminary Transcript


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Welcome to the Universal Forest Products Incorporated Fourth Quarter 2017 Conference Call. Hosting the call today are CEO, Matt Missad; and CFO, Mike Cole. Matt and Mike will offer prepared remarks, and then we'll open the call up for questions. This conference call is available simultaneously and in its entirety to all interested investors and news media through a webcast at www.ufpi.com.

A replay will also be available at that website through March 25, 2018.

Before I turn the call over to Matt Missad, let me remind you that yesterday's press release and today's presentation include forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are risks -- subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the company's expectations and projections.

These risks and uncertainties include but are not limited to those factors identified in the press release and in filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Matt Missad.

Matthew Missad

Thank you, Liz, and good morning, everyone. We appreciate you taking the time to listen to our year-end 2017 conference call. 2017 was the year of Leo, which is learn it, earn it, and own it. And our team definitely owned it by breaking records for both sales and profits. As we discussed on last quarter's call, we also needed to position our company well for continued growth and success in 2018. And they did that too.

Just some quick highlights. Sales were a record $966 million for the quarter and a record $3.94 billion for the year. Earnings were also a record $0.51 per share for the quarter and $1.95 for the year, all adjusted for our stock-split during Q4. Again, I would like to thank all the members of the UFP family of companies for making these new records.

Of course, we had a little help from the new federal income tax law, which Mike will describe in more detail. And we did have some margin headwinds related to hurricanes, which we talked about at the end of Q3. Gross margins were down 80 basis points from 2017, due in large part to the higher lumber market, increased freight cost and to significantly lower margins on sales of hurricane-related materials.

We honored our commitment to hold the line on pricing in the wake of the hurricanes to help the hurricane victims. We incurred additional freight, handling and sourcing cost to make sure that our customers received as much product as possible in the face of these disasters. Our ability to source worldwide and support the impacted geographies from our many facilities outside the hurricane regions enabled us to ship products at up to four times the prior year's unit volumes on some SKUs.

While this impact is painful in the short-term, we believe it is the right thing to do and it will serve us well in the long term. To wrap up our 2017 scorecard,