CHICAGO - USG Corporation, a leading building products company, reported fourth quarter 2008 net sales of $981 million and a preliminary net loss of $172 million. For the same period a year ago, the corporation reported net sales of $1.2 billion and a net loss of $32 million.

“All of our businesses are being negatively affected by weak macroeconomic conditions,” said William C. Foote, USG Chairman and CEO. “New residential construction, a key market for our wallboard business, is down about 75 percent from its high in 2005. We have moved aggressively throughout the prolonged housing downturn to improve operating efficiencies, cut costs and lower our breakeven operating levels in our gypsum wallboard business. We are taking similar actions in our other businesses as the recession has spread to other parts of the U.S. and global economy.”

Foote said USG continues to achieve excellent performance on customer satisfaction metrics and plant operating efficiencies.

“Our safety performance is outstanding and several of our plants received the prestigious OSHA Star award in 2008, bringing the total to eight plants that have received that recognition,” he said. “We have also maintained a sharp focus on liquidity and financial flexibility. During the fourth quarter of 2008, we raised $400 million from a convertible note offering and earlier this month we successfully renegotiated our bank credit agreement.”