Weyerhaeuser buys 645K acres, announces new CEO

Weyerhaeuser Company headquarters in Federal Way. - Courtesy of Bruce Honda
Weyerhaeuser Company headquarters in Federal Way.
— image credit: Courtesy of Bruce Honda

Federal Way-based timber giant Weyerhaeuser Company has been stirring a buzz in the business world with a major land purchase and a change in leadership.

The company recently announced plans to buy about 645,000 acres of timberland in Washington and Oregon. The deal comes after acquiring Longview Timber LLC for $2.65 billion, according to the company.

Already one of the world's largest private timberland owners, Weyerhauser's timber holdings in the Northwest have now increased by 33 percent to about 2.6 million acres total. Nationwide, the total timber holdings add up to 6.6 million acres. For another perspective, the total acreage adds up to an area nearly five times the size of King County (1,476,480 acres).

In 2012, the company generated $7.1 billion in revenue and employed about 13,200 people.

Weyerhaeuser is a real estate investment trust, and timber holdings are the company's main asset, with most profits going to investors.

To help finance the Longview purchase, Weyerhaeuser is offering stock — 28,000,000 of common shares and 10,000,000 shares of mandatory convertible preference shares.

The Longview deal comes with an increase in quarterly dividends from 20 cents per share to 22 cents per share.

New president and CEO

Earlier this month, the board of directors elected Doyle Simons as the next president and CEO. Simons, 49, will succeed Dan Fulton, 65, effective Aug. 1.

Simons previously served as CEO of Temple-Inland, a corrugated packaging company that was acquired by International Paper. He was appointed a director at Weyerhaeuser in 2012. Fulton, who served as president and CEO since 2008, will act as executive vice chairman of the board of directors until his retirement in October.

Homebuilding interests

Weyerhaeuser is also considering selling its homebuilding division WRECO (Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company). That subsidiary includes the local Quadrant Homes.

"Given the improving fundamentals of the housing market, we believe now is a prudent time to explore strategic alternatives for this business," said current CEO Dan Fulton in a news release.

WRECO ranks among the top 20 homebuilders in the country and brought in $1.1 billion in revenue in 2012 — a 28 percent increase, according to a report in the New York Times.


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