Dan Fulton, president and CEO of Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY), joined REIT.com for a CEO Spotlight video interview at REITWorld 2012: NAREIT's Annual Convention for All Things REIT at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego.
Based in the state of Washington, Weyerhaeuser is one of the world's largest forest products companies. The company has six business divisions: cellulose fibers, consulting, wood products, real estate, timberlands, and paper and liquid packaging.
Fulton discussed the stability of the recovery in the housing market and its effect on his firm's businesses. He pointed out that sales in Weyerhaeuser's home business were up approximately 40 percent in the third quarter on a year-over-year basis. Additionally, he noted that sales are up in every market in which the company participates.
"The housing recovery is underway. We started to feel serious recovery" in the fourth quarter of 2011, he said. "We were concerned about that, because we had been through a couple of false starts."
Fulton said the company is beginning to see price appreciation in its home sales business, which he called "a strong signal for recovery."
"That is positive for our homebuilding business. More importantly, it's positive for our wood products business. We are a very large manufacturer of wood products," he said. "We're seeing the recovery manifest itself in improved orders for our wood products and some upward price pressure."
Despite the good news in the housing market, Fulton pointed out that new starts still remain low: "We've got a long ways to go in this recovery. I think we'll see some fits and starts as the supply channel readjusts to this increased volume."
Fulton offered his insights into the outlook for Weyerhaeuser's business dealings in China and Japan.
"We are uniquely advantaged in terms of the location of our timber resource, the quality of that resource and the fact that we control our own export facilities," Fulton said. "We've had steady demand from Japan, which is our largest export market year in, year out. That volume has continued to be relatively strong."
In China, Fulton said the market experienced a slowdown in demand near the end of last year.