Weyerhaeuser names CEO, buys parcel, mulls homebuilding strategy


Weyerhaeuser Co said its board had elected Doyle Simons president and chief executive officer, effective August 1, and announced plans to spend $2.65 billion for a big timber parcel and plans to review strategic options for its homebuilding unit.

The company, in separate releases on Sunday, said its board had authorized the exploration of strategic alternatives for its homebuilding and real estate development business, Weyerhaeuser Real Estate Company (WRECO), and announced it has agreed to buy the 645,000-acre Longview Timber parcel in Washington and Oregon from Brookfield Asset Management Inc for $2.65 billion, including assumption of debt.

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It said the timber acquisition should immediately boost company earnings, and that Weyerhaeuser intends to boost its quarterly dividend to 22 cents per share, from 20 cents per share, beginning with the third-quarter dividend that is payable in September.

Weyerhaeuser said it is considering a broad range of alternatives for WRECO, including whether to continue to hold it, or a merger, sale or spin-off. It said the business is one of the 20 largest homebuilders in the United States, and that the "improving fundamentals" of the housing market make it a prudent time to explore strategic alternatives for the business.

Weyerhaeuser said Simons, 49, a former chief executive of the Temple-Island corrugated packaging business before its acquisition by International Paper, would be active as CEO Elect immediately. The company said Fulton will serve as executive vice chairman of Weyerhaeuser's board until his retirement in October.

(Reporting by Ransdell Pierson; Editing by Theodore d'Afflisio)