Universal Moves Up Fortune Ladder


    GRAND RAPIDS — Universal Forest Products Inc. (Nasdaq: UFPI) hasn’t reached the Fortune 500 yet … but it has inched a bit closer.

    The firm — headquartered at 2801 East Beltline Ave. — reported last week that since last year it has gained 35 places in the Fortune 1000 and now is listed as No. 734 (in terms of annual revenues).

    The company has moved higher annually in the Fortune standings for some years.

    Universal specializes in manufacturing and engineering wood products and allied materials for manufacturers, site construction and major national retailers.

    The company has 50 operations in all but a handful of states east of the Mississippi, and 22 plants in the western half of the country, the bulk of them in California, Texas and Colorado.

    Universal also has an operation in west central Mexico.

    Among its products are lumber, pressure-treated woods, vinyl, aluminum and composite materials.

    In terms of its rating with the other 10 companies in the forest and paper products industry, Universal pointed out in a press release last week that it ranked first in total return to investors for the years 1993 through 2003.

    Too, the release indicated, “The company also ranked No. 2 in earnings per share for the time period 1993 to 2003, and No. 4 in profits as a percent of revenues, No. 2 in profits as a percent of assets and No. 3 in profits as a percent of stockholders’ equity.”

    Finally, the statement advises that Universal was one of two firms in the industry to post a gain in profits over 2002.

    “These numbers are evidence that our team of more than 9,000 employees is paying attention to our business,” said William G. Currie, CEO and vice-chairman

    “We’re proud of our efforts and results,” he added. “Proud, but not complacent.

    “We’re focusing on continued good growth and improvement and even stronger results for the years ahead.”

    The CEO said he also attributed the firm’s steady growth to key leaders in the company, many of whom have been with Universal for decades, and to the fact that there’s been nearly zero turnover in its senior ranks.

    “The knowledge, skill and relationships we’ve built over decades also fuel our growth,” he said.

    “I’m grateful and I’m proud of the people on my senior team who help to lead this company to greater heights every year.”

    Among Universal’s newest and fastest-growing ventures are framing and installation services for site construction.

    Information about the firm is available on its Web site, www.ufpi.com www.ufpi.com or by calling (888) 289-8374.

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