Weyerhaeuser is investing in its mills, focusing on reliability for 'runway' ahead, says CEO in interview at International Builders' Show, cites restart of engineered lumber facility in Evergreen, Alabama, which he expects to begin production in May

LOS ANGELES , February 11, 2014 () – Weyerhaeuser is addressing the potential for lumber and building material product scarcity as demand improves with capital investment, and by focusing on the reliability of the company's mills, CEO Doyle Simons has told Home Channel News.

In an interview with HCN during the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, Simons said it was too early to celebrate, but he was encouraged by the recovery in the U.S. homebuilding, lumber and building material industries, noting that Weyerhaeuser expects housing starts to reach around 1.1 million in 2014, compared with just below 1 million in 2013.

Simons added that he believed the company still had a lot of "runway" ahead, given a long-term average of between 1.5 and 1.7 million starts, reported HCN.

Simons said that Weyerhaeuser was preparing for the possibility of product scarcity as demand picked up by making sure it was spending capital, focusing on reliability and running its mills better, which would result in more product. He referred to the planned restart of the company's Trus Joist and Microllam LVL lines in Evergreen, Alabama, after a four-year closure, and said Weyerhaeuser should be making product out of that mill by May.

Simons also stressed the importance of product innovation, saying that he saw Weyerhaeuser's ability to innovate and make new products as one of the company's key competitive advantages. Educating customers took time, effort and resources, he said, but he remained convinced that products that improved housing or were easier to install would eventually achieve market acceptance.

The primary source of this article is Home Channel News, New York, on Feb. 5, 2014.

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