Weyerhaeuser Company (NYSE: WY) today announced that its board of directors has determined that conversion to a real estate investment trust (REIT) would best support the company’s strategic direction.
“Our company will be enhanced by the REIT structure,” said Dan Fulton, president and chief executive officer. “This conversion will position us to be more competitive in our timberlands business. In addition, we are able to convert with our existing business mix of Timberlands, Wood Products, Cellulose Fibers and Real Estate.”
Chuck Williamson, chairman, said “The board has not set a date for the conversion, but the earliest and most likely date would be for the year 2010 based on circumstances as we know them today.”
Factors the board will consider in determining the timing of converting to a REIT include the state of the economic recovery, changes in tax policy including shareholder tax rates and the distribution of earnings and profits required under tax laws for REIT election.
By the end of the year of conversion, Weyerhaeuser must issue a special, taxable dividend to stockholders of its undistributed earnings and profits. As of the beginning of 2010, Weyerhaeuser expects earnings and profits to total just under $6 billion.
Weyerhaeuser said it intends to pay a significant portion of the dividend in stock. This will require shareholder approval to increase the authorized number of shares at the annual shareholder meeting in April. Shareholders will receive information on this proposal, and the proposed governance changes announced earlier this morning, in the 2010 proxy statement to be mailed in February.
Investor Conference Call
Weyerhaeuser will hold a live conference call at 7 a.m. Pacific (10 a.m. Eastern) on December 15 to discuss today’s announcements on proposed governance changes and the intent to elect REIT status.
To access the conference call from within North America, dial 1-877-941-0844 at least 15 minutes prior to the call. Those calling from outside North America should dial 1-480-629-9645. Replays will be available for one week at 1-800-406-7325 (access code – 4193510) from within North America and at 1-303-590-3030 (access code – 4193510) from outside North America.
Weyerhaeuser Company, one of the world's largest forest products companies, was incorporated in 1900. In 2008, sales were $8 billion. It has offices or operations in 10 countries, with customers worldwide. Weyerhaeuser is principally engaged in the growing and harvesting of timber; the manufacture, distribution and sale of forest products; and real estate construction and development. Additional information about Weyerhaeuser's businesses, products and practices is available at http://www.weyerhaeuser.com.