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August 25, 2015 — Now available exclusively from John Deere is TimberNavi, a fully integrated mapping solution for L-Series Skidders and Wheeled Feller Bunchers and M-Series Tracked Feller Bunchers.
August 19, 2015 – Edmonton Kenworth recently opened a new full-service dealership with 42 service bays in Leduc, Alta. In celebration, Edmonton Kenworth – Leduc will host an open house from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 18. The dealership will provide food and refreshments and guided tours of the facility, plus offer multiple interactive parts and truck displays. More than 2,000 customers have been invited. The dealership will also hold a ribbon-cutting event on Thursday, Sept. 17, with the Leduc city and county mayors, regional chamber of commerce, members of parliament and Kenworth representatives as special guests. Edmonton Kenworth – Leduc is on 16 acres at 8202 42nd Street near the Edmonton International Airport. It features an 111,500-square-foot main building with an indoor showroom large enough for customers to view up to four Kenworth trucks out of the elements. The main building also offers several specialty bays to provide service for fabrication, component rebuild and liquefied natural gas-powered commercial vehicles, four triage bays to provide customers rapid diagnostic reports, plus a 37,000-square-foot parts department providing customers access to more than $5 million worth of parts inventory. A second 17,000-square-foot building features four quick-lube service bays for preventative maintenance service, two drive-through wash bays and two alignment bays.“Over the past several months, we worked diligently on recruiting and training our employees at Edmonton Kenworth – Leduc," said Gary King, Edmonton Kenworth president. "As a result, we were able to provide customers with a qualified and capable staff of 115 full-time employees to serve their needs when we recently opened our doors.” The opening of the Leduc dealership marks another milestone in the dealership’s longtime presence in the Edmonton community since the early 1950s.  “Since our dealership was first established more than 60 years ago, we’re proud that Kenworth has contributed to Alberta growing into an economic powerhouse,” King said. The Leduc location joins another new full-service facility Edmonton Kenworth built and opened in Fort McMurray last year. Edmonton Kenworth also operates full-service dealerships in North Edmonton, South Edmonton and Lloydminster, Alberta. Mark Denny manages the Leduc location’s parts department and Ed Stadnyk manages its service department. Parts and service are available from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. The service department offers full warranty support for the PACCAR MX-13 engine, plus a Taylor engine dyno bay chassis. The phone number is 780-612-9855.  Edmonton Kenworth – Leduc is part of the Kenworth dealer network of more than 360 locations in the United States and Canada. Kenworth's home page is www.kenworth.com. Kenworth is a PACCAR company.
August 18, 2015 - The newest harvesters available for Canadian forestry
August 17, 2015 - There’s a new frontier on the cusp of significant growth in Canada that will significantly alter the civil operating environment – and it promises to create countless economic benefits for a number of key industry segments, including firefighting, heavy construction, forestry, security, agriculture, law enforcement, real estate, the film industry, electronic news gathering and much more. Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVS) and unmanned aerial systems (UAS), or drones, are making their presence known in commercial operations following years of military success – and it represents the tip of the iceberg in terms of their potential. But many questions that need to be explored: • What are the regulatory standards commercial operators need to know now and in the future? • What are the technological realities in the market today and what limitations exist for operators? • Where is the industry headed and how can one capitalize on potential opportunities? • How are UAVs being utilized today and how can various industries such as aerial firefighting, heavy construction, forestry, real estate and agriculture capitalize on the trend? What are the economic opportunities? Eric Edwards can help shed light on these topics and more. Edwards initiated and co-led the Transport Canada working group that established the standard Ground School Syllabus for operators of small, unmanned aircraft. As past chair of the Unmanned Systems Canada, he is acutely aware of the current regulatory UAV framework in Canada and is well versed on the potential operational applications for UAV technology. At Xiphos Technologies in Montreal, he works in image processing and hyperspectral data processing for UAV and spacecraft payloads. Join Edwards as he explores the impact UAVs will have on the Canadian commercial framework and the value they will bring to a wide variety of industries. And all this for just $25! Register now! WEBINAR: UAVs 101: Applications and Implications in CanadaWHEN: September 24, 2015, 2 p.m., EST.PRESENTER: Eric Edwards, Past Chair, Unmanned Systems Canada, President, Montreal’s Xiphos Technologies, MontrealMODERATOR: Matt Nicholls, Editor, Wings and Helicopters magazine.
August 13, 2015 - According to data provided by Global Surface Intelligence (GSi), The Great Bear Rain Forest (GBRF) in British Columbia is showing significant signs of recovery since the formation of land use protection zones in 2006 and 2009, proving that environmental groups, communities and industries can work together to conserve our precious forests.  GSi have been monitoring the GBRF up to 4 times a day from satellites and remotely detecting forest change over time, a world first in science. By combining the latest technological advances and knowledge in big data analytics, geo-processing and machine learning its GSi-Timber product has been measuring several key forest data attributes across the GBRF including timber volumes, age, height and species since 2001.  The interpreted forest data clearly shows a substantial decrease in forest volume of 15 per cent from 2001 through to 2009, a cumulative loss of over 250 million cubic metres of timber and a concerning downward trend. However, since the instigation of Ecosystem-based Management Operating Areas (EBMs) in 2009, this trend has reversed and forest volumes have increased by eight per cent and have now recovered to their 2005 levels.  “This forest data heralds good news showcasing that a concerted effort from numerous stakeholders can have a positive impact on Canada’s pristine forests, but it is by no means the end of the story,” said Ruairidh Henderson, CSO of GSi. “With our world leading earth observation technology we can now manage our planet’s resources more effectively than ever before for the greater well-being of everyone.” Figure 1. Total change in forest volume (m3) measured annually across the entire GBRF. Conditional Mean refers to the average volume per hectare in m3 averaged across the GBRF.  About Global Surface Intelligence Global Surface Intelligence (GSi), head quartered in Edinburgh, Scotland, is a data-mining company focusing primarily on turning raw earth observation data into useful information about the environment. GSi has developed a very powerful software platform called the "GSi-Platform" which provides high performance, big data, predictive analytics of satellite, remote sensing and other data. Its predictive analytics are based on highly accurate machine-learning software, which was specially engineered to handle big data sets and to run on high-performance supercomputers. Currently, GSi captures earth observation data from satellite covering the earth's surface every eight days and has historical data all the way back to 2001. GSi processes, filters and analyses hundreds of thousands of satellite images to allow for an on-going global big data time-series analysis.  http://www.surfaceintelligence.com/
August 13, 2015 - The Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) has announced the opening of its request for proposals for the SFI Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. The application period opened on August 10, 2015, with applications being accepted through Friday, October 2, 2015. Since 2010, SFI has awarded 66 Conservation and Community Partnership Grants totalling more than $1.9 million to foster research and pilot efforts to better inform future decisions about our forests. When leveraged with project partner contributions that total exceeds $7.1 million.  SFI is looking forward to another successful and productive year for the Conservation and Community Partnerships Grant Program. This year, SFI will award up to $400,000 in new Conservation and Community Partnership projects. You may download the application and supporting information for each program here: •Conservation Grants •Community Grants Grant RFP timeline Activity                                          Date SFI Inc. opens RFP                        August 11, 2015 All proposals due to SFI Inc.          October 2, 2015 at 11:59 p.m. EST (no exceptions) Applicants advised on decision      December 18, 2015
August 12, 2015 - Expo Grands Travaux will return to Montreal’s Olympic Stadium on April 22 and 23, 2016. Excitement in the industry is already building, demonstrated by a strong demand for exhibit space. With a full decade of history and growth, this massive heavy equipment show has established itself as a pillar of the industry. The last edition was another resounding success, with 15,632 qualified buyers in attendance, sold-out floor space, and more than 350 exhibitors reporting vigorous sales activity. Sales for the 2016 edition are going extremely well – especially given that the show is still over nine months away.  “The bulk of the 200,000-plus square feet of exhibit space on the stadium’s playing field has already been sold,” said Mark Cusack, national show manager. “Due to high demand, we’ve now added close to 100,000 square feet of space to the show with the addition of the East Hall.” Visitors to the show will be treated to many exciting features, including a brand new Demo Zone, being held for the first time at Expo Grands Travaux. A small fleet of dump trucks will deliver thousands of tons of dirt directly onto the stadium floor and equipment will dig, lift, carry, break, and push – just like on an actual worksite. Expo Grands Travaux has been endorsed by key industry associations, including: l'Association des travaux publics d'amérique (ATPA) – Chapitre du Québec; l'Association des constructeurs de routes et grands travaux du Québec (ACRGTQ); SIMA – the Snow and Ice Management Association; and l’Association des propriétaires de machinerie lourde du Québec (APMLQ). For information on Expo Grands Travaux click here.
August 11, 2015 - Natural Resources Canada has been working since June on a new program to predict two weeks in advance how many large fires will break out in different fire centres around Canada, castanet.net reports. READ MORE.
August 10, 2015 – BFGoodrich Tires announced that it is recalling approximately 129,000 tires that were sold in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Approximately 6,400 of the recalled tires were sold in the Canadian market. These tires are primarily found on commercial light trucks, as well as full-sized heavy-duty vans, small RVs and some 3/4 and one ton pick-up trucks. This recall, which has been reported to Transport Canada, includes eight specific commercial light truck tire sizes that were produced under the following three product names: BFGoodrich Commercial T/A All-Season, BFGoodrich Commercial T/A All-Season 2 and BFGoodrich Rugged Terrain T/A. BFGoodrich has observed that a limited number of these tires experienced a rapid loss of air pressure due to a rupture of the sidewall in the bead area under severe usage conditions. This can result in a potential risk of loss of vehicle control or vehicle crash.  At this time, there have been no injuries or fatalities reported. The tires involved in this recall include: BFGoodrich recommends consumers remove these tires as soon as possible in order to receive a similar product at no cost. To return and replace these tires at no cost, please visit an authorized BFGoodrich dealer for assistance. To locate a BFGoodrich dealer visit www.bfgoodrichtires.ca . For questions or concerns please contact BFGoodrich Consumer Care at 1 866-424-2638 (Canada). In Canada, the BFGoodrich tires brand is licensed to operate by Michelin North America (Canada) Inc. About BFGoodrich Tires With more than 100 years of heritage, BFGoodrich® Tires is dedicated to providing high performance tires for those who have a passion for driving in virtually any environment. Combining technical expertise with 40 years of motorsports experience, BFGoodrich Tires delivers tires for a full range of driving experiences from ultra-high performance street to off-road terrain with one common theme – extreme performance. Come upgrade your performance with BFGoodrich and see where our tires can take you at www.bfgoodrichtires.ca/, on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/BFGoodrichCanada or on Twitter at @BFGoodrichCAN. 
When Todd Manuel decided to switch from wood hauling to harvesting in 2009, he knew he was taking a risk. Manuel went to auction and purchased a second-hand grapple skidder and second-hand harvester and his company, Big Timber Ventures was born.
August 5, 2015 - Tigercat recently opened the doors of its $12-million production facility to the public to proudly show off its new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility. Hundreds of people including Tigercat employees and their families toured the 11,800-square-metre building in Paris, Ont., located approximately 100 kilometres southwest of Toronto.  “Tigercat is a growing global company and this investment to expand our production capabilities is a great testament to the commitment we have to our customers and to serving them better,” said company president Tony Iarocci, who was Tigercat’s first employee when the company started in 1992.  Tigercat now has nine southern Ontario locations, a large parts distribution and training centre in Georgia, sales and distribution facility in Sweden, and a dealer network that spans the globe. The new plant will house production of swing machines and cut-to-length attachments including the 200 series loaders and the 800 series track feller bunchers, harvesters and loggers. The building features light sensor skylights and bay door windows along with motion detector lights to save energy. The building's roof is a white rubber membrane that reflects UV rays and helps reduce heating and cooling costs. There are six overhead cranes in each bay with room for more, if needed. Specialized concrete was used for the floors to support the machines that will be produced in the plant.  “We export 75 percent of what we produce,” said Iarocci. “Tigercat has produced over 16,000 Tigercat machines. And in a time of economic turmoil, the company has managed to gain marketshare. The only thing holding the company back was its inability to produce more machines. The demand was there last year and we could have produced more, and now we can moving forward.” 
August 5, 2015 - The federal government is picking sides, supporting Canada’s forest industry in the face of a campaign by Greenpeace to discredit certain companies and practices. Minister Denis Lebel announced on July 31 that the government of Canada will finance scientific studies focused on woodland caribou and will act directly to inform forest proudcts clients to inform them of the facts about Canada’s forest management practices. According to La Presse, Minister Lebel vowed that Greenpeace will not destroy the economy of his region. He promised to “re-establish the facts to stop the defamation.” The promotional campaign announced by Lebel will use social media, and will employ ambassadors and consular officials to explain Canada’s forest management practices to other countries, La Presse reported. Also, three federal ministrys will send a letter to clients of Canadian forest products companies, which will include studies and information countering the allegations of environmental groups. Lebel is Minister of Infrastructure, Communities and Intergovernmental Affairs and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec.
August 13, 2015 - Understanding the needs, footprint and budget are the three key factors for the construction of a brand new sawmill. When officials at Irving understood the reality of each of those three factors, they knew that something completely different would be necessary.
August 10, 2015 - With the Softwood Lumber Agreement (SLA) set to expire this coming October, many companies and individuals within the sector have been waiting with bated breath for a new deal to be chiselled out between Canada and the U.S. And unlike the last time the SLA was set to expire in 2013 – but was renewed for two years until 2015 – the option for an extension is no longer available.
August 6, 2015 - Conifex Timber Inc. has announced that it has completed the purchase of 100 per cent of the outstanding shares and shareholder loans of a private Delaware company ("AcquisitionCo"). The consideration consisted of 100,000 common shares of the company at a deemed price of CAD$6.75, as well as the reimbursement of certain costs previously incurred by the vendor. AcquisitionCo had the exclusive rights to acquire a sawmill and related facilities and equipment, including approximately 186 acres of land, located near El Dorado, Ark., ("El Dorado Mill"). Concurrent with the closing of the purchase, AcquisitionCo exercised its right to acquire the El Dorado Mill for total consideration of US$21 million, comprised of US$12.36 million in cash and an US$8.64 million vendor mortgage.  “It's important to Conifex to secure this ideal site and high quality infrastructure in one of the most advantaged softwood supply regions in North America,” said Ken Shields, CEO of Conifex. “The uncertainties flowing from the expiry and renegotiation of the Softwood Lumber Agreement could potentially impact the timing of the modernization and upgrade of our Canadian sawmills, while we expect the SLA will have less impact on capital expenditure decisions for mills located in the U.S.” The El Dorado Mill is situated in an area well regarded for its availability of high quality sawlogs within cost effective proximity and a skilled labor pool. The company is currently completing its review to evaluate the optimal capital upgrade for the El Dorado site, following which management expects to determine the priority in which to rebuild its currently idled Mackenzie Site I mill or the El Dorado Mill. Over the longer term, the company expects to undertake capital upgrades to rebuild both of these mills.  The common shares issued pursuant to the Purchase Agreement will be subject to a hold period expiring four months and one day following closing. About Conifex Timber Inc.  Conifex and its subsidiaries' primary business currently includes timber harvesting, reforestation, forest management, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value added lumber finishing and distribution. Conifex's lumber products are sold in the United States, Chinese, Canadian and Japanese markets. Conifex has expanded its operations to include bioenergy production following the commencement of commercial operations of its power generation facility at Mackenzie, British Columbia. Forward-Looking Statements  Certain statements in this news release may constitute "forward-looking statements". Forward-looking statements are statements that address or discuss activities, events or developments that the Company expects or anticipates may occur in the future. When used in this news release, words such as "estimates", "expects", "plans", "anticipates", "projects", "will", "believes", "intends" "should", "could", "may" and other similar terminology are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements reflect the current expectations and beliefs of the Company's management. Because forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors, actual results, performance or achievements of the Company or industry may be materially different from those implied by such forward-looking statements. Examples of such forward-looking information that may be contained in this news release include statements regarding: timing of completion of capital upgrade reviews; impact of the SLA on capital expenditures; timing and completion of capital upgrades, if any, to the El Dorado Mill and Mackenzie Site I mill; growth and future prospects of our business; our perceptions of the industry and markets in which we operate and anticipated trends in such markets and in the countries in which we do business; and benefits that may accrue to the Company as a result of certain capital expenditure programs. Assumptions underlying the Company's expectations regarding forward-looking information contained in this news release include, among others: that the Company will be able to effectively market its products; that the U.S. housing market will continue to improve; therefrom; that softwood lumber will experience sustained demand in the marketplace; the general stability of the economic, political and regulatory environments within the countries where the Company conducts operations; the ability of the Company to obtain financing (if necessary) on acceptable terms or at all; that interest and foreign exchange rates will not vary materially from current levels; and that the equipment at our mills will operate at expected levels.  Forward-looking statements involve significant uncertainties, should not be read as a guarantee of future performance or results, and will not necessarily be an accurate indication of whether or not such results will be achieved. A number of factors could cause actual results to differ materially from the results discussed in the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation: those relating to potential disruptions to production and delivery, including as a result of equipment failures, labour issues, the complex integration of processes and equipment and other factors; labour relations; failure to meet regulatory requirements; changes in the market; potential downturns in economic conditions; fluctuations in the price and supply of required materials, including log costs; fluctuations in the market price for products sold; foreign exchange fluctuations; trade restrictions or import duties imposed by foreign governments; availability of financing (as necessary); shipping or logging disruptions; and other risk factors described in the Company's 2014 annual information form, available on SEDAR at www.sedar.com. These risks, as well as others, could cause actual results and events to vary significantly. Accordingly, readers should exercise caution in relying upon forward-looking statements and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise them to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by law.
August 5, 2015 - Regulatory amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation relating to WHMIS 2015 came into effect on August 4, 2015. On Feb. 24, 2015, WorkSafeBC’s Board of Directors approved amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation. These regulatory amendments to the OHSR came into force on the date the consequential amendments to sections 5 and 6 of the Workers Compensation Amendment Act, 2015, Bill 9, came into force. This occurred on August 4, 2015. These changes harmonize with the Government of Canada‚s implementation of the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labelling of Chemicals (GHS). The GHS does not replace WHMIS. The existing WHMIS requirements will align with the GHS elements and are now called WHMIS 2015. The strikethrough version of the amendments with explanatory notes can be accessed online.
August 5, 2015 – Mack Manufacturing Inc. was in the forefront when diesel-powered crane buckets and grapples with remote controls first appeared in the material handling industry. With the latest addition to its line-up of attachments, Mack set its sights on “small:” a series of self-contained remotely operated attachments ranging from as little as 3/8 cubic yard up to a 20 yard capacity.  According to Mack’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Matt Davidson, the new small-sized grapples and buckets were developed to solve big problems for customers in forestry, recycling, aggregate and shipping industries.  “We have been producing large units like this to handle bulk loading for several years,” he explains. “But we found many customers need similar attachments sized smaller for more mobility, faster deployment and greater precision in moving material.”   Getting you out of a jam The new Mack attachments can handle a wide array of materials, including logs, rocks, scrap metals, waste and bulk material. The first unit Mack delivered was a 3/8 cubic yard 5-tine grapple, built for a paper mill to clear jammed logs from its debarking process.  “Jams can be a costly problem, whether you’re processing logs like this, or pulling oversized, wedged-in material from a grinder or a shredder. In this case, a stuck log could stop production for six hours or more. The jam could happen 60 feet above the crane location, out of the crane operator’s sight, and the mill would have to send a crew into the equipment to free up the jam.” The paper mill ordered the self-contained grapple from Mack so an operator can use the remote control to pick out a stuck log. The crane, working down below the debarker line, simply lifts and positions the grapple with directions for the remote operator.  “It’s much safer than the old method,” said Davidson. “The remote operator can maneuver the grapple precisely to clear the jam in far less time. It can save a day’s production.” Quick response Because they are fully self-contained, the new Mack attachments can swing into action quickly. Simply attach the grapple or clamshell bucket to the crane’s hook, start the engine, and it’s ready to start moving product. Any rope crane, hydraulic crane or even an overhead crane can put the attachment into service as needed to keep conveyors and processing equipment moving, or to perform other light-duty tasks efficiently. The smallest of the Mack attachments are powered by 14 HP air-cooled Hatz diesel engines. The largest models use 85 HP air-cooled Deutz diesels. The attachments are maneuvered by hand-held radio controls similar to those used with Mack’s production-sized self-contained models. About Mack Manufacturing Mack Manufacturing is a global leader in industrial material handling attachments, specializing in heavy-duty hydraulic grapples and buckets for overhead cranes and mobile equipment. Established in 1942, Mack continues to operate as a family-owned business committed to the development of highly-skilled welders, fabricators and support staff. Mack’s head office facility in Theodore, Alabama, is fully equipped to complete every step of attachment manufacturing and remanufacturing tasks under one roof, from engineering to precision machining to final finish.
August 4, 2015 - Precision Machinery’s CNC Guide Dresser has 10 years of development, revision and market testing and over 40 customers across North America willing to testify to its performance. Fast. Reliable. Proven. The machine is available direct from the manufacturer (Precision Machinery) and these four distributors: Cox Saw, Carbide Tool Works, Missoula Saw, and Haskins Industrial. If the person you are dealing with is not on this list, they are not selling a genuine Precision CNC Guide Dresser. CNC Guide Dresser features include: All your guides in one machineMounting systems are custom engineered for your mill. ALL your guides can be processed with one machine. Our Fast-Setup design allows operators to quickly change between guide profiles and store up to 90 customized guide settings with our standard package. Touchscreen interfaceA simple touch screen interface maintains accurate targets. Precision’s Safecut technology ensures the right guide and the right setting, every time. Face millsMultiple insert face mills are available in two sizes to ensure the demands of your operation are met. Indexable carbide inserts are readily available and can be easily rotated up to four times if worn or damaged. No timely setup is required. CNC machine spindlesPowerful motors drive high speed, high precision CNC milling machine spindles. These motors will provide long life and service from your machine. SlidesPrecision ground slides are adjustable in increments down to 0.0002”. Operators can fine tune guides with extreme precision in seconds. Granite machine baseThe Precision CNC Guide Dresser has a unique base that guarantees the machine will cut with unparalleled accuracy, regardless of environmental changes around it. Three-point frameDesigned to ensure machine stability on any floor. Check out a video of Precision's CNC Guide Dresser at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pm5mmqPvihA.
July 29, 2015 - RZ Industries recently introduced its newly designed M2-Mesh Air Filtration Mask with HEPA Filtration System.This mask features an abrasion-resistant mesh exterior designed for easier airflow; elastic side straps for a more precise fit to multiple different head shapes and sizes; dual direction exhalation valves that expel breath away from glasses and goggles; and comes with a HEPA filter designed to allow for 124 per cent more breathability than a standard paper mask. The mask also accepts the RZ Industries’ current active carbon filter and is more lightweight than the company’s neoprene mask.For more information, visit rzmask.com.
July 28, 2015 - Looking for a workshop on the future of sawmilling that’s a cut above the rest? Then OptiSaw 2015 is for you! OptiSaw is a one-day workshop focused on the future of optimization and automation in sawmilling, including challenges and opportunities on the cutting edge of this side of the industry. It will offer a time-effective and affordable learning and networking opportunity for those driving the future of sawmilling in your operation.  The workshop has already attracted Platinum sponsors HewSaw and Comact and luncheon sponsor Autolog! Who should attend? Mill managers and owners Process engineers Continual improvement managers Optimization staff Researchers Design consultants What will you learn? An in-depth look at how European technology and mill flow can be used in North American sawmills, and how some North American mills are currently doing so, presented by Kenneth Westermark, area sales director for HewSaw;   Revolutionary grade optimization in the bucking and sawing process, presented by Norvin Laudon, chief technology officer for Springer Microtec; Examples of automation and robotics from other industries, and how they can be applied to our industry; Optimization techniques that go beyond the individual log, looking at real-time market and inventory feedback loops; and Case studies of new technology and processes being implemented in mills today. PLUS: Opportunities to network with colleagues and a select group of sponsored technology providers. Seats are limited so register now! 
July 22, 2015 - The president of VAB Solutions, Jean Berube, recently announced the signing of a new contract for the sale and installation of a complete Planer Mill Lineal Grading Optimizer for Riopel Sawmill, a division of Crete Group, located in Chertsey, Quebec.  "This new equipment is at the cutting edge of the technology and will enable Riopel Sawmill to significantly increase its production efficiency by increasing their productivity and the quality of their product,” says Berube. About VAB Solutions Inc. Created in 2004, VAB Solutions Inc. is a partnership between Marc Voyer eng. and Jean Berube eng., combining more than 30 years in the lumber industry.  The mission of VAB Solutions Inc. is to develop, manufacture, sell and commission vision instruments for the forest industry using the latest technology. Achieving outstanding performance and offering a fair competitive price are top priorities. The key feature of VAB Solutions Inc. line of products is the Lumber Grading Optimizer for planer mills. In 2014, VAB Solutions Inc. celebrated its 10th anniversary. Source: VAB Solutions
July 16, 2015 - The BID Group of Companies is pleased to announce that Cumul8 division of Eight Solutions Inc.(“Eight” or the “Company”) have commenced planning to develop an industry-leading data visualization and analytic solution for the BID Group. This solution will use Cumul8 technology and be exclusively distributed by the BID Group throughout the North American forestry industry. 
July 14, 2015 - Rugged, reliable and versatile, the Hägglunds TADS hydraulic drive system from Bosch Rexroth is a powerful, self-contained drive package for applications and systems where space is limited. The Hägglunds TADS is a completely self-contained, easy-to-install system and  comes with either internal splines or a hollow output shaft with a compression coupling that easily mounts directly to a machine’s drive shaft. Flexible shaft couplings and associated alignment problems, extra long hoses or lines, and control lines between conventional power unit and motor are eliminatedSmall footprintHägglunds’ way of using hydraulics to produce rotation delivers a number of benefits. For example, our direct drive system eliminates gearboxes and the need for heavy pedestal foundations, which shrinks installation costs and saves valuable floor space.Easy to serviceThe compact open design affords easy access for routine maintenance.Power when neededTADS delivers maximum torque from zero speed with infinite start, stop and reverse, which will not damage the system. This feature can add an all-new level of productivity for some applications, in particular apron feeders, belt feeders, belt conveyors, and infeed conveyors in the bulk material handing & mining, recycling, cement, and pulp & paper industries. The Hägglunds TADS unit features extremely fast hydraulic pump compensators that can reduce the wear and lengthen the life of any machine. Load-sensing and power-limiting tools enable operators to intelligently sustain peak levels of operation that outperform other systems–boosting machine uptime and helping reduce total cost of ownership.For more information on other Rexroth solutions and expertise, visit www.boschrexroth-us.com/hagglundsAbout Bosch RexrothEconomical, precise, safe, and energy efficient: drive and control technology from Bosch Rexroth moves machines and systems of any size. The company bundles global application experience in the market segments of Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation, and Renewable Energies to develop innovative components as well as tailored system solutions and services. Bosch Rexroth offers its customers hydraulics, electric drives and controls, gear technology, and linear motion and assembly technology all from one source. With locations in over 80 countries, more than 33,700 associates generated sales revenue of approximately $7.4 billion (5.6 billion euros) in 2014. To learn more, please visit www.boschrexroth-us.com About Bosch Having established a regional presence in 1906 in North America, the Bosch Group employs some 28,700 associates in more than 100 locations, as of April 1, 2015. In 2014, Bosch generated consolidated sales of $11.3 billion in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. For more information, visit www.boschusa.com, www.bosch.com.mx and www.bosch.ca. The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 360,000 associates worldwide (as per April 1, 2015). The company generated sales of $65 billion (49 billion euros) in 2014.* Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in some 60 countries. Including its sales and service partners, Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. In 2014, Bosch applied for some 4,600 patents worldwide. The Bosch Group’s strategic objective is to create solutions for a connected life. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is “Invented for life.” Additional information is available online at www.bosch.com and www.bosch-press.com, http://twitter.com/BoschPresse.
July 9, 2015 - Hot weather and cool markets in China have resulted in the almost total closure of Skeena Sawmills, the city's only large sawmill. Mill official Roger Keery said the continuing hot weather has brought on extremely dry conditions in the woods, resulting in a slow down of activity and a resulting shortage of logs for the mill. There's also been a slowdown in the Chinese lumber market meaning that the mill's production has been piling up at port facilities in Prince Rupert and at its site on Highway 16, just west of the town. A skeleton crew of 10 people from what was a 90-person workforce is at work and the mass layoff will last at least a month, says Keery. “When we first saw this coming, we said we were going to take one month off, and I expect it's going to be at least that. Beyond that I don't want to say,” said Keery this week of the layoffs which took place last week. He said the Chinese demand for lumber cooled off after the government raised interest rates. Until the wood starts selling again, Skeena Sawmills won't be operating at full capacity, Keery said. “They currently have about two months production in Rupert, and a month and a half of production here,” he said. “We simply haven't been able to move our volume.” About 15 per cent of the mill's production was planned for specialty timber markets in North America, but the fire hazard has meant that the logging company, Terrace Timber, who supplies Skeena Sawmills with raw logs had to shut down operations on June 17. “Our logging sites right now are under a severe fire hazard threat, so we have had to shut them down and it's impacted our log supply, so we are short on logs and don't have enough wood coming in to run the business right now,” said Veery. Logging operations in this area are mainly done with a cable system, which means fire vulnerability because of the friction from moving cables on dry land. Employees are represented by the United Steelworkers Union and union business agent Rick Nelson said they'll be relying on employment insurance once through their waiting period. “They don't get any money when they are laid off. They can apply for employment insurance. They are hourly workers, they are not on salary,” he said. Workers on employment insurance receive 55 per cent of their earnings to a maximum of $524 a week. “Obviously there may be some other issues internally going on, whether it be finances or whatnot, but I am not privy to that,” Nelson added. “The planer mill is shut down completely. Some of the office staff have also been laid off. The remaining crew is doing some chipping and limited sawing of lumber.” And while the layoff will be a blow to the area, Keery says there is light at the end of the tunnel, as the Chinese markets are already rebounding. Without the fire hazard, he said 25 per cent of the workforce could be at work milling wood for the specialty markets, but strong markets in China dictate the operation of the mill in the long term. Skeena Sawmills has an ownership structure rooted in China through a company called Roc Holdings Ltd. and represented locally through Vancouver businessman Teddy Cui. Roc Holdings purchased the operation from previous owner West Fraser in the spring of 2011 and re-opened it the following year with the intention of eventually running two shifts a day. The sale by West Fraser included Crown timber tenures amounting to hundreds of thousands of cubic metres of wood a year. At the time of the sale, the sawmill had a single shift capacity of 90 million board feet per year. The sawmill closed in mid-2007 during a labour dispute and never did fully re-open when that dispute ended in the fall of 2007. West Fraser cited poor American markets as the reason for not re-opening. The mill did operate sporadically, chipping logs for West Fraser's Eurocan pulp mill in Kitimat. That mill closed in early 2010. Josh Massey is a reporter currently living in Terrace, B.C and is the author of novels, "We Will All Be Trees" (2009) and "The Plotline Bomber of Innisfree" (2015).
August 25, 2015 - The wood/fiber-based panels sector is enjoying improved commercial and consumer end-use demand levels on a sub-regional scale, based on recovering organic growth following the recession.
July 30, 2015 - Norbord Inc. recently reported adjusted EBITDA of $18 million in the second quarter of 2015 compared to $14 million in the first quarter of 2015 and $46 million in the second quarter of 2014. The year-over-year change is primarily due to lower North American oriented strand board (OSB) prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $11 million in the quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter and compared to $37 million in the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $10 million in the quarter versus $7 million in the prior quarter and $12 million in the same quarter last year. “The poor North American OSB demand/capacity ratio continued to impact OSB prices in the second quarter,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's president and CEO. “We curtailed production at several mills in response to the slower than expected rebound in new home construction demand. However, the May and June US housing data was encouraging, we are starting to see a pick-up in export orders and our sales to home improvement and industrial customers continue to grow. All this supports our belief that the OSB market dynamic will gradually improve in the coming quarters. In the meantime, our manufacturing costs continue to decline as we focus on our controllables and benefit from lower resin prices and the weaker Canadian dollar. "In Europe, our financial results are back on track, returning to their trend of generating double-digit quarterly EBITDA. Improving sales volumes in our key markets, particularly the UK, are offsetting the impact of lower OSB prices and the weaker Euro.  "Finally, we remain focused on our integration efforts following the completion of our merger with Ainsworth four months ago. Of our $45 million annualized synergies target, we have already realized $4 million from early initiatives. Our sales and financial systems were recently integrated, and we remain on track to achieve half of our synergies target by year-end.” Norbord recorded an adjusted loss of $13 million or $0.15 per share (basic and diluted) in the second quarter of 2015 compared to an adjusted loss of $15 million or $0.18 per share (basic and diluted) in the prior quarter and adjusted earnings of $9 million or $0.11 per basic share ($0.10 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2014.   Market Conditions In North America, June year-to-date U.S. housing starts were up 11 per cent versus the same period in 2014. Single family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by nine per cent. Permits were 16 per cent higher year-over-year and the seasonally-adjusted annualized rate stands at 1.34 million. The consensus forecast from U.S. housing economists is 1.1 million starts for 2015, which would be a 10 per cent improvement over last year. Despite improving U.S. new home construction activity, prices continue to be impacted by the poor OSB demand/capacity ratio. While North Central, South East and Western Canada benchmark OSB prices all increased earlier in the quarter, this upward momentum flattened in June. The North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $193 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis) for the quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter and compared to $219 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In the South East region, where approximately 35% of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $174 per Msf compared to $175 per Msf in the prior quarter and $199 per Msf in the same quarter last year. The Western Canada benchmark averaged $152 per Msf for the quarter, compared to $159 per Msf in the previous quarter and $206 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In Europe, panel demand continues to grow, reflecting improving housing markets and OSB substitution in the Company's core geographies, particularly the UK and Germany. However, OSB prices remain under pressure due to the weaker Euro and the redirection of eastern European supply toward the west as a result of the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Particleboard prices remained steady, while medium density fibreboard (MDF) prices were down slightly.  As a result, second quarter average panel prices were down 3% from the prior quarter and 12% lower than the same quarter last year. Performance North American OSB shipments increased by 10 per cent, quarter-over-quarter, primarily due to increased productivity and more fiscal days in the second quarter.  Second quarter shipments were in line with the same quarter last year as improved mill productivity offset production curtailments. Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at approximately 90% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec) compared to 85% in the prior quarter and 90 per cent in the same quarter last year.  Mill productivity improved over both comparative quarters with capacity utilization impacted by the level of production curtailments. Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit decreased by five per cent compared to the prior quarter and seven per cent, versus the same quarter last year due to lower resin prices, improved productivity and lower raw material use. The year-over-year decline was also driven by the weaker Canadian dollar. In Europe, Norbord's shipments were three per cent higher versus the prior quarter and 11 per cent higher than the same quarter last year. Three of the four mills achieved quarterly production records and the European operations produced at approximately 100 per cent of stated capacity compared to 95 per cent in the prior quarter and 95% in the same quarter last year (based on restated capacity). As previously reported, at year-end 2014 the annual capacity at three of the four mills was restated. Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $21 million year-to-date primarily from improved productivity and lower raw material use. Capital investments totalled $28 million year-to-date compared to $53 million in 2014 due to the larger scope of capital projects undertaken last year. Norbord's 2015 planned capital expenditures remain targeted at $70 million and include further debottlenecking and cost reduction projects under the Company's multi-year capital reinvestment strategy. Operating working capital was $151 million at quarter-end compared to $146 million in the prior quarter and $158 million at the end of the same quarter last year with changes primarily driven by seasonality, timing and foreign exchange translation. At quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $326 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and $316 million in unused credit lines. At quarter-end, $50 million was drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. The company's tangible net worth was $738 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 50%.  Both ratios remain well within bank covenants. As previously disclosed, following the Ainsworth merger Norbord amended its revolving bank lines to reset the tangible net worth covenant to $450 million and increased its accounts receivable securitization program commitment limit from $100 million to $125 million. Developments As previously announced, Norbord completed its merger with Ainsworth on March 31, 2015. Under the terms of the all-share transaction, Norbord acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Ainsworth shareholders received 0.1321 of a share of Norbord for each Ainsworth share. Ainsworth became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norbord. On April 16, 2015, Norbord completed the issuance of $315 million in senior secured notes due 2023 with an interest rate of 6.25 per cent. Debt issue costs of $6 million were incurred in connection with the issuance. The company used the proceeds to redeem prior to maturity the $315 million senior secured notes due 2017 that were assumed upon closing of the merger on March 31, 2015. As a result of the early redemption, a cash premium of $13 million was paid, a $1 million non-cash charge related to net unamortized debt issue costs was recorded and an $11 million non-cash charge to extinguish the related derivative financial instrument was recognized. Dividend Norbord's variable dividend policy targets the payment to shareholders of a portion of free cash flow based upon the Company's financial position, results of operations, cash flow, capital requirements and restrictions under the Company's revolving bank lines, as well as the market outlook for the Company's principal products and broader market and economic conditions, among other factors. Taking into account weaker than expected North American OSB prices to-date in 2015, to maintain flexibility in the Company's capital structure, as well as to fund growth and other attractive capital investment opportunities, the Board of Directors has adjusted the quarterly dividend level to CAD $0.10 per common share.  Accordingly, the Board declared a quarterly dividend of CAD $0.10 per common share, payable on September 21, 2015 to shareholders of record on September 1, 2015. The Board retains the discretion to amend the Company's dividend policy in any manner and at any time as it may deem necessary or appropriate in the future.  For these reasons, as well as others, the Board in its sole discretion can decide to increase, maintain, decrease, suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future. Additional information Norbord's Q2 2015 letter to shareholders, news release, management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Company's website at www.norbord.com. Shareholders are encouraged to read this material. Norbord Profile Norbord Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of wood-based panels and the world's largest producer of oriented strand board (OSB).  In addition to OSB, Norbord manufactures particleboard, medium density fibreboard and related value-added products.  Norbord has assets of approximately $1.8 billion and employs approximately 2,600 people at 17 plant locations in the United States, Canada and Europe.  Norbord is a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NBD. This news release contains forward-looking statements, as defined in applicable legislation, including statements related to our strategy, projects, plans, future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance. Often, but not always, words such as  "expect," "believe," "forecast," "likely," "support," "target," "consider," "continue," "suggest," "intend,"  "should," "appear," "would," "will," "will not," "plan," "can," "may," and other expressions which are predictions of or indicate future events, trends or prospects and which do not relate to historical matters identify forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Norbord to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Although Norbord believes it has a reasonable basis for making these forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking information.  By its nature, forward-looking information involves numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, which contribute to the possibility that the predictions, forecasts and other forward-looking statements will not occur.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated or implied by forward-looking statements include:  general economic conditions; risks inherent with product concentration; effects of competition and product pricing pressures; risks inherent with customer dependence; effects of variations in the price and availability of manufacturing inputs; risks inherent with a capital intensive industry; ability to realize synergies; and other risks and factors described from time to time in filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Except as required by applicable laws, Norbord does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, or to publicly update or revise the above list of factors affecting this information.  See the "Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information" statement in the January 27, 2015 Annual Information Form and the cautionary statement contained in the "Forward-Looking Statements" section of the 2014 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated January 27, 2015 and Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015. Norbord defines Adjusted EBITDA as earnings (loss) before finance costs, income taxes, depreciation and other unusual or non-recurring items, and adjusted earnings (loss) as earnings (loss) determined in accordance with IFRS before unusual or non-recurring items and using a normalized income tax rate. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings (loss) are non-International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) financial measures, do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. See "Non-IFRS Financial Measures" in Norbord's Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015 for a quantitative reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings (loss) to earnings (the most directly comparable IFRS measure). To Our Shareholders, This is our first quarter following the merger with Ainsworth and in spite of a slower than expected recovery in OSB demand in North America, it is an exciting time for our Company. Through the transaction with Ainsworth, we now have the opportunity to build a leading global wood products company, active on three continents, better positioned to serve our customers, and able to achieve higher returns for our shareholders. We expect to realize the full benefits of the merger over the next several quarters. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $18 million, which is largely in line with the previous quarter. Low OSB prices have been offset by strong operational performance and cost reductions across all of our mills. Long time Norbord shareholders will notice that our North American numbers now include production at our mills in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, as well as results from our Asian export business. With all the positive headlines coming out of the US housing market, you may be wondering why this did not flow through to our financial performance in the second quarter. The most recent numbers for June show that US housing starts have increased 11% year-to-date and are currently at a 1.17 million annual pace. But the APA industry production statistics show this did not translate into increased demand on North American OSB mills. We believe there were two main drivers: a pro-dealer network (which services the large home builders) that was destocking inventories and the stronger US dollar which has lowered overseas export volume. As a result, industry-wide operating capacity was more than sufficient to satisfy demand. While this has made the first half of this year disappointing, we see encouraging signs in the market. Asian export orders are starting to pick-up again, and this region remains an exciting area with real growth potential for Norbord. In the US, June housing permits were at a 1.34 million annual pace and we believe pro-dealer inventories are now at rock bottom levels. These suggest increased demand, and a gradual improvement of the industry demand/capacity ratio, which we would expect to lead to better OSB prices. Other positive signs include our year-to-date sales to North American home improvement and furniture customers that were up about 8%. Sales in these channels are an important aspect of our diversification strategy away from new home construction, giving us more consistent shipment volumes during periods of volatile homebuilding-related demand. Our European business performed well this quarter. The United Kingdom is our key market and we have realized double-digit year-over-year gains in sales there. Sales volume for all our panel products was up 5% versus the prior quarter and 12% versus the previous year. These higher volumes have helped offset the softer OSB price environment and put our European financial results back on trend. All of our mills continued to operate well, with increased uptime and speed. These productivity improvements combined with further progress on reducing raw material use resulted in $21 million in year-to-date Margin Improvement Program gains. As a result, cash manufacturing costs – a key operational metric – decreased at both our North American and European mills and are now 12% lower than 18 months ago. The key corporate priority this year is the integration of the former Ainsworth operations into the 'new Norbord'. Since the completion of the merger in April we have made great strides, including moving the two companies to single sales and financial reporting systems at the end of the quarter. We were able to complete this conversion in three months, without any disruption to the business, and our customers are telling us that the transition has been seamless from their perspective. As part of the integration effort we have achieved a number of early savings and have already captured $4 million in annualized synergies. Corporate synergies are already locked in and will be evident in our numbers starting in Q4. The majority of the remaining opportunities involve optimizing our product mix across a broader platform to lower freight and manufacturing costs and implementing a number of process and technology changes across our seventeen mills. We are on track to reach half of our $45 million annualized synergy target by year-end. In today's press release, you will see that the Board has adjusted the quarterly dividend level to CAD $0.10 per share. For the reasons set out above, we did not see the expected improvement in the North American OSB market during the seasonally stronger second quarter. This had us re-evaluate our outlook for the near term and take the prudent step of reducing our dividend payout. We remain committed to returning cash to shareholders, and will continue to evaluate the dividend level as the US housing recovery plays out. Looking further ahead, we remain convinced that OSB demand will improve. Our operational results, particularly our continued progress on costs, demonstrate that the fundamentals of our company are solid. Our financial results this quarter are not where we would like them to be. However, we are confident we will see the benefits of steadily improving market conditions in our results as we focus on continuing to execute on our business strategy and achieving the merger synergies. Thank you for your continued confidence and investment in Norbord.  I look forward to reporting on our continued progress next quarter. Peter Wijnbergen President & CEO This letter includes forward-looking statements, as defined by applicable securities legislation including statements related to our strategy, projects, plans, future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance.  Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "expect," "suggest," "support," "believe," "should," "potential," "likely," "continue," "forecast," "plan," "indicate," "consider," "future," or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions "may," "could," "must," "would," "might," or "will" be undertaken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Norbord to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievement expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.  See the cautionary language in the Forward-Looking Statements section of the 2014 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated January 27, 2015 and Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015. Norbord defines Adjusted EBITDA as earnings (loss) before finance costs, income taxes, depreciation and other unusual or non-recurring items. Adjusted EBITDA is a non-International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) financial measure, does not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. See "Non-IFRS Financial Measures" in Norbord's Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015 for a quantitative reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to earnings (the most directly comparable IFRS measure). 
July 8, 2015 - Canada's wood products industry is benefiting from the ongoing recovery in the U.S. housing and a weaker Canadian dollar, according to The Conference Board of Canada's latest outlook for Canada's wood products industry. "The continued recovery in the U.S. housing market is supporting increased demand for Canadian wood products, leading to a 8.7 per cent increase in export volumes this year," said Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Economic Trends, The Conference Board of Canada. "However, while production should remain strong over the next five years, growth is set to eventually slow due to timber shortages in B.C. and softer growth in demand from China." Highlights Rising production and higher prices mean industry revenues are set to reach nearly $29 billion by 2016. Pushed higher by increases in production and rising material costs, industry costs are expected to rise by 8.7 per cent in 2015. The spread of the mountain pine beetle continues to pose a risk for Canada's lumber supply. Industry production is expected to grow by 6 per cent in 2015. This, combined with higher prices will support industry revenues, which are set to reach just under $29 billion by 2016. However, rising production and material costs are expected to drive strong cost growth in the industry. Overall, industry costs are set to rise by 8.7 per cent in 2015. The industry will need to find cost-cutting initiatives to help support its bottom line. With cost increases forecast to exceed revenue growth, pre-tax profits in the wood manufacturing industry are expected to fall 0.2 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2015. Various risks cloud the outlook over the medium term. While production will continue to increase, timber supply constraints (a result of the mountain pine beetle infestation) will continue to limit domestic production. These supply problem will plague lumber companies operating in British Columbia's interior and could lead to plant closures. In addition, the current Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber agreement is set to expire this October, which will likely affect Canadian softwood lumber producers' access to the U.S. market. SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
June 4, 2015 - MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corporation, has further expanded its R-Series of robust, high performance magnetostrictive position sensors with a new device which has the capacity to deliver reliability and industry-leading accuracy in even the most demanding work environments. Utilizing the company’s proprietary Temposonics technology, the RT4 is a linear position measurement solution that features two independent sensor elements - each of which has a measuring length of 50 mm to 2540 mm (2” to 100”).  Targeted at use in lumber mills, steel processing plants and power generation sites, this fully redundant position sensing product employs a Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI), which means that data transfer is less susceptible to the presence of electro-magnetic interference. In addition, the IP68-rated enclosure protects against the threat of liquid ingress. The RT4’s detached electronics can be mounted up to 600 mm (23.6”) away from the sensing environment allowing the electronics to be kept further from sources of potential harm. A temperature range that reaches up to 100˚C (212˚F) is supported for the sensor rod and interconnection cables. “Thanks to the combination of detached electronics and redundancy function, the RT4 sets itself apart from conventional position sensing hardware,” states Matt Hankinson, Technical Marketing Manager at MTS Sensors. ”This unit is optimized to function in extremely challenging application surroundings while maintaining high performance.” Through MTS Sensor’s ground-breaking Temposonics magnetostrictive sensor technology, precise, non-contact position measurement data can be acquired. Temposonics-based devices can deal with the exacting mechanical stresses found in modern industrial settings without being subject to wear and tear.
April 20, 2015 - MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corporation, has introduced a high performance magnetostrictive position sensor, using its innovative Temposonics technology. The ET sensor is very well suited to deployment in applications with high temperature environments. It can deliver up to 0.005mm resolution when used in combination with a suitable controller. Industrial facilities dedicated to pressboard production or the processing of steel/iron need instrumentation that provides maximum safety and reliability, regardless of difficult working conditions. The new ET product offering significantly extends the supported temperature range of the MTS E-Series, with the ability to precisely determine exact positions even at 105°C temperature levels. This small rod sensor can be integrated directly into a cylinder, with rod length options covering 50mm to 3000mm. It exhibits linearity deviation of less than 0.02 per cent (full scale). ET sensors have liquid ingress protection in accordance with IP68. Furthermore, ATEX certification for hazardous areas is available. These devices are equipped with a start/stop interface. They also have the capacity for sensor parameters to be automatically uploaded. A 316L stainless steel variant can be specified if needed. "The ET sensor is designed to be reliable and operationally effective in industry sectors where elevated temperatures are a major concern,” said Robert Luong, MTS Sensors’ industrial technical marketing manager. “The magnetostrictive technology it utilizes provides a wear-free sensing mechanism that has significant value in heavy industrial settings.” The proprietary Temposonics magnetostrictive sensing technology developed by MTS Sensors is designed to offer a non-contact method for accurately measuring position, which permits its implementation into the most demanding of application environments. Sensors based on this technology are highly resilient to shock, vibrations and extreme temperatures.
April 2, 2015 - Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced the completion of their merger on April 1, 2015. 
March 24, 2015 - Globally traded hardwood chips for the manufacturing of pulp and wood-based panels have trended downward for much of the past three and a half years. However, this trend broke in late 2014 and early 2015 when prices slowly started to increase.
Feb. 27, 2015 – Lower OSB prices, a slower recovery of the U.S. housing market and higher overall unit costs contributed to weaker-than-expected fourth quarter and year end financial results for Ainsworth in 2014. Sales of $102.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 were $1.9 million lower than sales of $104.4 million for the same period in 2013. The decrease in sales was mainly due to a 4% decrease in realized pricing. Sales volumes increased by 2% due to the ongoing ramp up of High Level notwithstanding downtime taken during the fourth quarter. The impact of the U.S. benchmark declines on realized pricing was moderated by factors including the effect of a weaker Canadian dollar relative to the fourth quarter of 2013 combined with stable export pricing in Japan. Sales were $444.0 million in 2014 compared to $488.0 million in 2013. The $44.0 million decrease was primarily related to a 17% decrease in realized pricing, partially offset by a 9% increase in sales volumes. The impact of the U.S. benchmark declines on realized pricing was again moderated by factors including the effect of a weaker Canadian dollar relative to 2013 combined with stable export pricing in Japan. The increase in volume from High Level was partially offset by the downtime taken at the various mills to complete maintenance and other projects during the year. Ainsworth President and Chief Executive Officer, Jim Lake said, "North American OSB market conditions continued to drift throughout the year as the pace of demand growth did not materialize as expected. However, we remain optimistic that U.S. housing starts will return to more historical levels within the next several years, with various indicators pointing towards strong growth in 2015 versus 2014. "We maintained the strong performance we saw in 2013 in our key export market in Japan and also made progress in China as we began commercial shipments of our industrial core stock products. Additionally, we progressed in the ongoing ramp up of our High Level mill, including the completion of a number of strategic capital projects that will further position the mill to efficiently manufacture an enhanced range of products for North American and Asian customers." While the pace of improvement in U.S. housing starts in 2014 was more gradual than anticipated, Ainsworth expects that the U.S. housing recovery will gain further traction in 2015. The company remains optimistic that U.S. housing starts will return to more historical levels within the next several years. The restart of the High Level mill will allow them to meet the growing requirements of its existing customer base in North America and Asia as well as service new market segments. Ainsworth expects the merger with Norbord will allow the combined company to capitalize on the ongoing recovery in the U.S. housing market and growth opportunities in our traditional and emerging markets in Asia.
Feb. 19, 2015 – River Bend Wood Products, a hardwood flooring business based in Nova Scotia’s Antigonish County, is shutting down due to a lack of locally-sourced hardwood. According to an article from The Chronicle Herald, the struggles are not new in the region. River Bend may be the newest company to go out of business due to the hardwood shortage, but it certainly isn’t the first and is not likely to be the last. Groupe Savoie, which operates a hardwood sawmill in nearby Westville, could be next due to a lack of available logs. It was expected that the hardwood consumed at the Nova Scotia Power biomass boiler would be low-value hardwood, leaving the higher value stems to companies like Groupe Savoie. However, to this point, that has yet to materialize. For more on this story, CLICK HERE
Feb. 3, 2015 - How would you feel about saving $1.57/m³ on your delivered wood costs? How about having access to better-defined cutblock boundary lines, a fully optimized road network or dealing with reduced mill-yard inventory? Sounds good, right? These appear to be just a few of the benefits related to the use of Enhanced Forest Inventory (EFI), yet not many companies seem interested in investing in EFI-allowing technologies such as aerial LiDAR. A formidable laser-based remote sensing technology, LiDAR measures distance by sending thousands of pulses of light with a laser from an aircraft and analyzing what reflects back (http://tinyurl.com/pe8ayfh). Only a handful of cases of documented cost/benefit analyses actually exist to guide the decision-making process when choosing from all the available technologies designed to significantly improve inventory knowledge. Hence, EFI technologies still remain a marginal practice among forestry technology and service providers. Confident in its capacity to transform the forest sector, FPInnovations set out to find out what EFI is really about. Partnering with Tembec and the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) allowed researchers from FPInnovations’ Value Maximisation research program to evaluate the monetary impact of EFI on forest operations and primary wood products manufacturing. The results have turned out convincingly in favour of EFI: great return on investment, better knowledge of forest inventory, smaller road network, efficient harvesting operations and increased forest machine productivity. With smaller mill yard inventories of greater value, sawing cost can be reduced and lumber value increased, mostly due to the increased size of timber. The big question now is: why haven’t more companies picked up on the new generation of technologies designed to help them be more profitable? Innovation in the field of forest inventory is no science-fiction. Today, there are very real cost-competitive technologies that allow accurate data gathering about forest stand attributes. Using these tools, foresters can truly maximize the value of forest products by lowering production costs and increasing the value of processed forest products. However, one obvious barrier in justifying the investment relates to the complexity of validating the benefits. Testing EFI processes and technologies involves getting access to data collected along the entire forest sector value chain. Since FPInnovations is all about value chain integration, researchers were able to gather the relevant information to compare the volumes as well as the wood net value resulting from two inventory data sets (traditional vs LiDAR-EFI). Very promising advancesIn addition to being costly, traditional forest inventories are difficult to update. In terms of stands, they produce a lack of volume precision in the area of 20 to 40 per cent, often making it necessary to obtain additional data in order to make informed decisions. There is a lack of data on variability of dendrometric characteristics within forest stands which limits harvest-planning decisions. Accuracy of inventory data is very important since many decisions and actions are taken along the wood value chain based primarily on forestry inventory data. Inaccuracies result in costs for forest stakeholders at various levels and also mean that landowners run the risk of not maximizing benefits or value from resources (wood fibre, habitat, tourism, etc.). Aerial LiDAROne of the challenges met by the Enhanced Forest Inventory process is to provide foresters with precise and detailed information, both on a large and operational scale for each block to be processed. The arrival of aerial LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) has allowed foresters to meet this challenge head on. The quality of the information can now exceed expectations and an entire forest can now be inventoried at resolution as high as 400 m2. Furthermore, major steps have been taken toward posting the internal attributes of the wood’s fibre on forest maps using the EvaluTree program (a joint collaboration by FPInnovations and the University of Northern British Columbia). Aerial LiDAR generates measurements in 3D space that provide a good description of the forest canopy and stand structure, which can be used to accurately predict tree crown dimensions, height, volume canopy density and biomass. Measurements made at the ground surface can be used to accurately map waterways (creeks, bogs, rivers, lakes) and topography across an entire forest (figure 1). While limited plot data are needed to calibrate LiDAR predictions, field sampling is no longer required for stand-, block-, and forest-level estimates. The wall-to-wall precision provided by LiDAR leads to better growth projections, product recovery models, taper models, biomass models, as well as silvicultural optimization and operational planning. Maps created with LiDAR also provide valuable information for road construction by identifying optimized log extraction routes. Block contours are also better defined, impacting the precision of performance calculations (m³/stem/ha). Furthermore, a more detailed knowledge of forest structure makes silvicultural prescriptions easier. Combined with FPInterface software, LiDAR obtained cartographic and georeferenced data allow better prediction of operational costs for harvesting, transportation, road construction and silviculture. Field testing EFI technologyBy comparing two inventory data sets (traditional versus LiDAR-EFI), FPInnovations researchers were able to estimate costs and benefits of each method. To ensure the accuracy of LiDAR inventories, actual volumes harvested (scaled) were compared to yield estimates derived from the traditional inventory (OMNR provincial inventory) and to the LiDAR-enhanced inventory. The study focused on 14 cutblocks from Tembec’s 2009 forest management plan. Ultimately, in this study, the cost of $0.10/m³ for the LiDAR-EFI was largely offset by reduced wood costs. FPInnovations observed a net gain of $1.57/m³ when compared with the actual harvest as planned from traditional forest inventory. Watch FPInnovations’ video on EFI: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VmAy6rxt-U For more information, please contact Francis Charette at 514-782-4608 or
Jan. 28, 2015 - Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced that Norbord shareholders and Ainsworth shareholders and optionholders approved the previously announced proposed combination of Norbord and Ainsworth by way of a plan of arrangement. The transaction remains subject to customary conditions to closing, including approval of the plan of arrangement by the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Subject to receipt of court approval and the satisfaction or waiver of all closing conditions, the transaction is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2015. Norbord and Ainsworth also provided the following general update in connection with the transaction. While the transaction is not reportable under the U.S. Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvement Act of 1976 or the Canadian Competition Act because Norbord and Ainsworth share a common controlling shareholder, the U.S. Department of Justice has requested information about the transaction and the companies, as it is entitled to do. Norbord and Ainsworth are providing the DOJ with the information it has requested and are working proactively with the DOJ to ensure an expedited review process. Norbord and Ainsworth are confident this review will have a satisfactory outcome and that it will not impact the companies' ability to close the transaction by the end of the first quarter of 2015.
Dec. 8, 2014, Vancouver – Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced that they have signed a definitive agreement under which they will merge to create a leading global wood products company focused on oriented strand board across North America, Europe and Asia. The all-stock deal is valued at $762.6 million. “This transaction unites two complementary businesses behind a common vision of enhanced service to our customers and growth in North America, Europe and Asia,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “Norbord and Ainsworth are each low-cost producers in their respective regions, and with our complementary operations and a more diverse range of specialty products, we will be better able to serve our customers across the globe. Ainsworth has excellent mills, a proven track record of innovation in value-added product development, and we look forward to working together. The growth potential we see in the combined company also offers significant value to our shareholders.” Under the terms of the arrangement agreement announced today, Norbord has agreed to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth in an all-share transaction in which Ainsworth shareholders will receive 0.1321 of a Norbord share for each Ainsworth share pursuant to a plan of arrangement under the British Columbia Business Corporations Act. Brookfield Asset Management Inc. and its affiliated entities, which control approximately 55% and 52% of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Norbord respectively, have entered into a binding agreement in which they have committed to vote in favour of the transaction. Upon closing, the Brookfield entities will control approximately 53% of the outstanding common shares of the combined company. Said Jim Lake, Ainsworth’s President and Chief Executive Officer: “The combination of the two companies will mean tremendous opportunities for our people and our customers. By joining with Norbord we will be able to leverage its commitment to low-cost operational excellence to expand and improve our existing range of products and enhance our customer relationships. For our shareholders, this transaction offers significant potential for continued value creation as investors in a larger and better-capitalized company with ongoing participation in the current U.S. housing recovery. This is an exciting transaction for Ainsworth and its stakeholders.” On a pro forma basis, the combined company generated USD $1.63 billion in sales and USD $143 million in Adjusted EBITDA for the 12 months ended September 27, 2014. The transaction is expected to be accretive to earnings and cash flow in the first year.
August 19, 2015 - Goodfellow Inc. has signed of a letter of intent to form a treated wood manufacturing company. Goodfellow Inc. and Groupe Lebel Cambium will be joint shareholders of the company, which will consist of seven wood treating plants to better serve markets in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces.  Group Lebel Cambium's four plants located in Bancroft and Caledon, Ont. and Dégelis and St-Joseph, Que. will be combined with Goodfellow's three plants in Delson, Que., Elmsdale, N.S. and Deer Lake, Nfld. to form a new business unit focused on operational excellence. The company becomes one of the largest producers of treated wood in Eastern Canada with an unrivaled geographic coverage. In conjunction with the creation of the new company, Goodfellow Inc. receives the exclusive mandate to market and distribute the entire production of the company. This transaction will enhance the strengths of both partners to better serve the pressure treated wood customers throughout Eastern Canada. This transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter 2015 and is subject to customary closing conditions. About Goodfellow Inc. Goodfellow Inc. is one of eastern Canada's largest independent re-manufacturers and distributors of lumber and hardwood flooring products. Goodfellow shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol GDL. About Groupe Lebel Groupe Lebel Inc is an important privately-owned Company operating sawmills and value-added wood products fabrication. Groupe Lebel's plants are mainly located in Eastern Quebec, in Dégelis, Squatec, Price ant St-Just de Bretenières. www.groupelebel.com. For more details, please go to www.goodfellowinc.com and www.groupelebel.com.
August 18, 2015 - Just days after the majority of the workers at Gingrich Woodcraft Inc. voted in favour of joining Unifor, the company shut its doors and let go staff, according to a recent article in the Fort Frances Times. “It is almost inconceivable that in a country like Canada in 2015, we are dealing with an employer that is willing to take the position that the Constitution and Ontario labour laws somehow do not apply to employees of Mennonite-operated businesses in [Rainy River District],” Unifor national representative Stephen Boon told the Times. To read the full article, click here.
August 12, 2015 - About two dozen workers at Gingrich Woodcraft near Fort Frances voted 69% in favour of joining Unifor today. This group of wood workers specializes in the production of custom cabinets and furniture. “We are extremely pleased to welcome these new members to Unifor and we look forward to sitting down with them in the coming weeks to prepare for negotiations on a new first contract,” said Stephen Boon, national representative for Unifor. “Unifor continues to expand across the Kenora and Rainy River Districts gaining back over 400 new members this year through several successful organizing drives and the re-start of sawmills in Kenora and Ear Falls.”  Unifor is the largest private sector union in Canada and represents over 305,000 members in 20 economic sectors.
August 10, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. announced its financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2015. “Stella-Jones produced solid operating results in the second quarter driven by healthy demand in its core markets and a wider reach in the residential lumber category,” said Brian McManus, president and CEO. “Margins benefited from further selling price adjustments in response to evolving market conditions in the untreated railway tie market and from greater network efficiency. Finally, our significant operating cash flow was mainly invested in working capital to support expected growth.”  Second quarter results Sales reached $428.1 million, up 24.2 per cent from $344.8 million a year ago. The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. (Boatright) on May 22, 2014 generated additional sales of $27.3 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by about $38.1 million when compared with last year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $17.9 million, or 5.2 per cent. Railway tie sales amounted to $194.8 million, up 37.7 per cent from $141.5 million last year. Excluding sales from Boatright and the foreign currency conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 6.8 per cent, primarily as a result of adjusted selling prices. Sales of utility poles reached $136.7 million, an increase of 12.4 per cent compared with $121.6 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales increased 2.2 per cent, as a steady rise in sales of distribution poles stemming from regular maintenance projects was partially offset by lower sales of transmission poles due to a decrease in demand for special projects as a result of the weakness in the oil and gas as well as mining industries. Sales of residential lumber totalled $60.9 million, up from $49.4 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a healthy economy as well as in Western Canada, mostly as a result of the Company's increasing reach into British Columbia. Industrial product sales were $25.4 million, compared with $25.1 million a year ago, mainly due to the additional contribution of the Boatright assets and the foreign currency conversion effect. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales were $10.4 million, versus $7.2 million last year, due to the timing of timber harvesting. Gross profit reached $84.1 million, or 19.7 per cent of sales, up from $60.1 million, or 17.4 per cent of sales, last year. The increase in absolute dollars essentially stems from higher business activity, the addition of the Boatright assets and the effect of currency translation. As a percentage of sales, gross profit increased mainly as a result of adjusted pricing for railway ties and greater efficiencies throughout the Company's network. As a result of higher gross profit, operating income increased 46.9 per cent to $61.1 million, or 14.3 per cent of sales, versus $41.6 million, or 12.1 per cent of sales, last year. Net income for the second quarter of 2015 increased 35.1 per cent to $38.9 million or $0.56 per share, fully diluted, compared with $28.8 million or $0.42 per share, fully diluted, in the second quarter of 2014. Six-month results For the six-month period ended June 30, 2015, sales amounted to $768.8 million, versus $602.3 million for the corresponding period a year earlier. The Boatright facilities contributed additional sales of approximately $48.4 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar had a positive impact of $67.5 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $50.6 million, or 8.4 per cent. Operating income reached $108.8 million, or 14.2 per cent of sales, up from $76.4 million, or 12.7% of sales, a year ago. Net income totalled $69.0 million, or $1.00 per share, fully diluted, compared with $51.3 million, or $0.74 per share, fully diluted, last year. Financial position As at June 30, 2015, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $538.1 million compared with $517.2 million three months earlier. The increase essentially reflects higher working capital requirements and the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at June 30, 2015 Stella-Jones' total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.41:1, versus 0.40:1 as at March 31, 2015. Working capital requirements included the normal seasonal increase in accounts receivable as well as higher inventory in anticipation of higher sales going forward and the gradual rebuilding of inventory due to untreated railway tie availability returning to customary levels. Quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share On August 7, 2015, the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per common share, payable on September 25, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 4, 2015. Outlook “Railway tie demand is expected to remain healthy for the remainder of 2015. With untreated tie availability returning to more appropriate levels, our strong procurement network should continue to provide consistent supply to support inventory rebuilding. In the utility pole market, regular maintenance demand should continue to grow at a steady pace, but lower resource prices have resulted in decreased demand for special projects. Over the mid-term, utility pole demand should improve, as an increasing number of poles are approaching the end of their service life and will need to be replaced. Stella-Jones remains focused on creating shareholder value by optimizing network efficiency and capturing accretive opportunities to further expand its reach in the wood treating industry,” concluded Mr. McManus. Conference call Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on August 7, 2015, at 3:00 p.m., EST. Interested parties can join the call by dialing 647-788-4922 (Toronto or overseas) or 1-877-223-4471 (elsewhere in North America). Parties unable to call in at this time may access a tape recording of the meeting by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 80946196. This tape recording will be available on Friday, August 7, 2015 as of 6:00 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, August 14, 2015. Non-IFRS financial measures Operating income and cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash working capital components and interest and income tax paid are financial measures not prescribed by IFRS and are not likely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. Management considers these non-IFRS measures to be useful information to assist knowledgeable investors regarding the Company's financial condition and results of operations as they provide additional measures of its performance. About Stella-Jones Stella-Jones Inc. is a leading producer and marketer of pressure treated wood products. The company supplies North America's railroad operators with railway ties and timbers, and the continent's electrical utilities and telecommunication companies with utility poles. Stella-Jones also provides residential lumber to retailers and wholesalers for outdoor applications, as well as industrial products for construction and marine applications. The company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Except for historical information provided herein, this press release may contain information and statements of a forward-looking nature concerning the future performance of the company. These statements are based on suppositions and uncertainties as well as on management's best possible evaluation of future events. Such factors may include, without excluding other considerations, fluctuations in quarterly results, evolution in customer demand for the company's products and services, the impact of price pressures exerted by competitors, the ability of the company to raise the capital required for acquisitions, and general market trends or economic changes. As a result, readers are advised that actual results may differ from expected results. Note to readers: Condensed interim unaudited consolidated financial statements for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com
July 28, 2015 - BC Wood Specialties Group's 2015 annual general meeting will take place from 9:30 to 10:15 a.m. on Thursday, September 10, 2015 at the Whistler Conference Centre in Whistler, B.C. All BC Wood members are encouraged to attend. To register or for more information, contact. Brian Hawrysh at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or by phone at 604-882-7100 (toll free 1-877-422-9663).  About BC WoodBC Wood is a not-for-profit trade association that supports BC businesses that manufacture wood products. We are a voice for the industry, bringing innovative ideas to the table and insight into how we can strengthen BC's wood culture. We are leading the industry by creating a culture where wood is the first choice for all types of construction and design products. For more information on BC Wood, visit our website: www.bcwood.com.
July 23, 2015 - Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Member of Parliament for Abbotsford, on behalf of Greg Rickford, Canada's Minister of Natural Resources, has announced close to $900,000 through the Investments in Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program to Dynamic Windows and Doors to install an innovative manufacturing process to produce Passivhaus wood windows at its facility in Abbotsford, B.C.  Passive houses are valued for their rigorous energy-efficiency standards, which require little energy for space heating and cooling."Today's announcement will further encourage economic competitiveness in Canada's forest sector while helping to create jobs and prosperity for Canadians,” said Fast. “In addition to adding well-paying jobs and supporting the local economy, this project is an important step in fostering the creation of high-value products manufactured here in Abbotsford and across Canada."Dynamic Windows and Doors will develop and be the first to market a made-in-Canada wood passive window system for homeowners seeking highly energy-efficient windows and doors. In addition to helping transition Canada's forest sector toward producing high-value manufactured products, the project will also create 60 direct new jobs that will help the local economy.Support for this project comes from Natural Resources Canada's IFIT program and is designed to support the transformation of Canada's forest sector in becoming more economically competitive and environmentally sustainable. IFIT encourages a broader adoption of new technologies across the industry and supports forest industry innovation by opening the door to a more diversified portfolio of products and markets."This investment is another example of how our government is helping Canada's forest industry bring innovative, high-value products to the marketplace, increasing Canada's global competitiveness and protecting jobs in the local community,” said Rickford.
July 16, 2015 - Uniboard recently announced an investment of more than $7 million at its Mont-Laurier MDF plant. The investment will increase the productivity of the plant through the use of a revolutionary new wood fibre mat-preheating technology. The company stated that the process innovation is a first for North America and will allow Uniboard to better service our customer base in Canada and the U.S. This process technology will continue to position the Mont-Laurier MDF/HDF plant as a North American leader, renowned for its range of industry leading products such as its Excel+, Excel, and NU Green/PMDI-NAF and HDF panel products. It will further strengthen Uniboard's overall network of particleboard, MDF and thermally fused laminate facilities which are located in Sayabec, Val-d'Or, Laval and Mont-Laurier, Quebec. Uniboard employs a workforce of 91 at its Mont-Laurier site and over 800 people within the entire corporation.Since its original start-up as Panfibre in 1987, optimization and product development have been the driving forces of Mont-Laurier MDF's successes. Mont-Laurier's capacity has been expanded in multiple steps over the years. Uniboard's MDF products are the industry reference in terms of quality, machinability and performance in various applications. In 2012, Uniboard further solidified its position in the industry when it was acquired by the owners of Kaycan Ltd., a leading manufacturer of building products in North America, with its head office located in Montreal, Quebec. Kaycan Ltd. and its  group of companies offers a full range of products for both the exterior and interior of the home, including vinyl, aluminum and engineered wood siding products, PVC windows & patio doors, particleboard, MDF, thermally fused laminate and laminate flooring."Operational excellence is the foundation of our strategy and process technology innovation is one of the key pillars”, said James N. Hogg, president and CEO of Uniboard Canada Inc. “The announcement of the new preheater today takes us another step forward and allows Uniboard to better service our customers in the North American composite and value-added panel industries. Over recent years, Uniboard has invested heavily into product development, launching new colour collections including WoodPrint Technologyâ, North America's first registered embossed thermally fused laminate panels as well as expanding our successful NU Green range of low and no-formaldehyde products. The announcement in Mont-Laurier today is in line with previous announcements of major investments improving productivity at Uniboard's mills in Sayabec and Val-d'Or, totaling some $90 million of growth investments over the next two (2) years. We greatly appreciate the strong commitment of the owners, the engagement of our employees and the community as well as the financial support of federal government agencies, Natural Resources Canada (NRC) through its Investments in the Forest Industry Transformation (IFIT) program and Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, all of which have facilitated Uniboard to move forward with this project while securing quality employment in Quebec's Laurentians region.” About Uniboard Uniboard Canada Inc. is a leading North American manufacturer of engineered wood products, with an installed capacity of over 640 million square feet of raw particleboard, high-density and medium-density fiberboard, of which over 50% is converted into value-added thermally fused laminate and laminate flooring products. Uniboard's mills in Val-d'Or, Sayabec, Mont-Laurier and Laval employ over 800 people. Its products are sold to retailers, distributors and finished goods manufacturers, which cater to the kitchen cabinet, furniture, office, home renovation and construction industries, as well as to the floor covering industry. More information is available at: www.uniboard.com. About the Kaycan group of companies Headquartered in Montreal, Quebec, Kaycan® is a leading vertically integrated manufacturer of vinyl, aluminium and engineered wood siding and accessories, PVC windows, aluminium rainware and coil, particleboard, MDF, thermally fused melamine and laminate flooring, with over 2,000 employees operating 18 manufacturing facilities across North America. The Kaycan group of companies' products are sold throughout the world under the brands of Kaycan®, KP Building Products, KWP, Farley Windows®, Greenview®, Bonneville Solutions® and Uniboard™. More information is available at www.kaycan.com, www.kwpproducts.com, www.kpproducts.com and www.uniboard.com.
July 14, 2015 - Newpro is looking to convert its particleboard facility in Smithers, B.C. into a wood pellet manufacturing plant.  The company recently presented its proposal to Smithers Town Council. Smithers Mayor Taylor Bachrach said he was excited about the potential employment the plant could bring, but he is also concerned about local air quality, according to a report from radio station CJFW.FM. Newpro’s particleboard production facility stopped operating in January 2014. "In 2013, the economics of foreign exchange on the particleboard world was such that it didn’t make economic sense to continue to operate the plant," Newport’s Aaron Sinclair told cjfw.ca.Newpro stated that the new wood pellet plant would bring considerable improvement in air quality compared to the particleboard plant. A full consultation report will be submitted to the Ministry of Environment by August 3.
July 2, 2015 – Veneer Services has hired Michael Partridge as a product specialist for Veneer Services/Biomass Engineering & Equipment. He has 36 years of experience in the primary/secondary rotary and sliced production fields, along with 24 years of experience in commercial and industrial plywood production. Partridge has had the opportunity to develop a varied skill and knowledge base in the veneer industry, from raw material purchasing through veneer and finished plywood production, including equipment purchase and design in every phase of the operations.  “We’re extremely excited to bring Mike on board,” says Dane Floyd, Veneer Services president. “His experiences and fresh outlook will only push us further out in the forefront of our industry. We know our customers are going to benefit greatly from his expertise. He’s going to become an invaluable member of the Veneer/BE&E team and help us continue to create game-changing products, services and experiences for our customers.”
June 19, 2015 – Stella-Jones Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the shares of Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. The signature of a non-binding letter of intent in respect of the proposed acquisition was reported by Stella-Jones on April 29, 2015.
June 8, 2015 – The latest numbers indicate that Alberta’s forest industry is continuing to grow and contribute to the province’s economic diversity. Values of lumber, pulp and paper, and panelboard manufactured by Alberta Forest Products Association (AFPA) members totalled $2.9 billion in 2014. The numbers reflect a 7.7 per cent increase from 2013. Industry growth was fuelled by a 12 per cent increase in revenue from lumber sales and 6.0 per cent increase in pulp sales. “2014 was a very solid year for our industry,” said AFPA president and CEO Paul Whittaker. “Strong sales for our members meant significant investment into employees, communities, and capital projects.”  Whittaker noted that while prices have begun to soften during the first part of 2015, future prospects are strong.  “Housing starts in the U.S. are projected to rise in late 2015 and early 2016,” he said. “We’re also hoping that Asian markets will continue to increase the use of wood, pulp, and newsprint. These factors should mean continued growth for our sector.” Alberta’s forest industry is a significant contributor to 50 Alberta communities. The industry has invested in future sustainability through market diversification initiatives and capital projects. These include an increased focus on Asian market development and investments to generate electricity from renewable forestry biomass. The industry’s continued growth also means strong demands for skilled workers, particularly in the trades. For more information on forestry careers, please visit workwild.ca. More information can be found on our website at albertaforestproducts.ca. The Alberta Forest Products Association is a private, non-profit industry organization, representing lumber, panelboard, pulp and paper, and secondary manufacturing wood products companies operating in Alberta. AFPA member companies are active participants in sustainability advancements that contribute economic, environmental, and social benefits for Albertans.
May 4, 2015 - Norbord Inc. reported Adjusted EBITDA of $10 million in the first quarter of 2015 compared to $15 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $27 million in the first quarter of 2014. The change versus both comparative periods is primarily due to lower North American benchmark oriented strand board (OSB) prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $6 million in the quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter and compared to $17 million in the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $7 million in the quarter versus $11 million in the prior quarter and $13 million in the same quarter last year. "Our first quarter results reflect continued weak North American OSB prices and another severe winter that held back homebuilding activity and OSB demand," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's president and CEO. "Still, our operations continued to deliver manufacturing cost reductions and margin improvement program gains, even as we curtailed production at several mills in response to lower-than-expected demand. In spite of the slower start to the year, U.S. housing starts are forecasted to reach the 1.15 million range for 2015, supporting my belief that OSB demand will continue to increase as the year unfolds. The impact of lower oil prices on resin and the benefit of a weaker Canadian dollar for our now larger portfolio of Canadian mills will provide a cost advantage in the quarters ahead. "In Europe, our financial results were impacted by continued pressure on OSB prices and the weaker Euro. However, the lower prices are accelerating substitution against plywood and we continue to increase our sales volumes in our key markets such as the UK where housing starts and home sales are improving. "Finally, we are pleased to have completed the merger with Ainsworth, making Norbord a leading global wood products company active on three continents. Our integration efforts are well underway and we are implementing our plan to realize the annual synergies target of $45 million." Norbord recorded a loss of $6 million or $0.11 per share (basic and diluted) in the first quarter of 2015 compared to earnings of $3 million or$0.06 per share (basic and diluted) in the prior quarter and earnings of $7 million or $0.13 per share (basic and diluted) in the first quarter of 2014. Reported earnings in the current and comparative quarters included the following one-time items: $ millions                                         Q1-2015  Q4-2014  Q1-2014 Earnings before one-time items             (2)             1             7 Costs related to Ainsworth merger         (4)            (5)            - Non-recurring income tax recoveries       -               7             - Earnings, as reported                            (6)            3             7 Market conditions In North America, March year-to-date U.S. housing starts were up four per cent versus the same period in 2014. Permits were eight per cent higher year-over-year. Single family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by five per cent. The consensus forecast from U.S. housing economists stands at 1.15 million starts for 2015, which would be a 14 per cent improvement over last year. New home construction activity was held back during the quarter by the extreme cold weather conditions experienced across much of the continent this winter, driving softer OSB demand. As a result, benchmark OSB prices remained under pressure in the first quarter. The North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $193 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis) for the quarter compared to $216 per Msf in the previous quarter and $219 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In the South East region, where more than half of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $175 per Msf compared to $181 per Msf in the prior quarter and $193 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In Europe, panel markets continued to experience demand growth in the first quarter, reflecting improving housing markets and continued OSB substitution in the Company's core geographies, particularly the UK andGermany. However, OSB prices remain under pressure and were down 9% quarter-over-quarter and 18 per cent year-over-year as eastern European supply was redirected toward the west due to the ongoing conflict in the Ukraineand the collapse of the Russian ruble. Prices for the Company's other products remained steady. As a result, first quarter average panel prices were down four per cent from the prior quarter and nine per cent lower than the same quarter last year. Performance North American OSB shipments decreased by eight per cent quarter-over-quarter, primarily due to fewer fiscal days versus the prior quarter. First quarter shipments were in line with the same quarter last year as improved mill productivity offset a reduced production schedule. Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at approximately 100% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec) compared to 95% in the prior quarter and 100% in the same quarter last year. Year-over-year, capacity utilization was unchanged as improved productivity was offset by additional production curtailments. Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit (before mill profit share) decreased by three per cent compared to the prior quarter. Lower resin prices and fewer maintenance shutdown days were partially offset by the impact of fewer fiscal days in the quarter. Unit costs decreased by four per cent versus the same quarter last year as increased productivity, lower resin prices and improved raw material usages more than offset the impact of a reduced production schedule. In Europe, Norbord's shipments were six per cent higher versus the prior quarter and in line with the same quarter last year. The European mills produced at approximately 95 per cent of stated capacity in the quarter compared to 105 per cent in the prior quarter and 110 per cent in the same quarter last year. Capacity utilization declined compared to both comparative quarters primarily due to the previously reported restatement of the 2015 annual capacity at three of the four mills by an aggregate increase of 170 MMsf (3⁄8-inch basis) to reflect recent capital investments and improved efficiency. Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $7 million in the quarter from improved productivity and raw material use. Capital investments totalled $10 million in the first quarter and are currently targeted at $70 million for the full year 2015 for the combined company. This year's planned capital expenditures include further debottlenecking and cost reduction projects under the Company's multi-year capital reinvestment strategy. Operating working capital was $100 million at quarter-end compared to $65 million at year-end and $93 million at the end of the same quarter last year. Working capital increased quarter-over-quarter for the usual seasonal reasons, including log inventory builds in North America. At quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $298 million, consisting of $4 million in cash and $294 million in unused credit lines. At quarter-end, $45 million was drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. The Company's tangible net worth was $388 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 53 per cent. Both ratios remain well within bank covenants. Dividend The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of CAD $0.25 per common share, payable on June 21, 2015 to shareholders of record on June 1, 2015. The amount of future dividends under the company's dividend policy, and the declaration and payment thereof, will be based upon the company's financial position, results of operations, cash flow, capital requirements and restrictions under the company's existing revolving bank lines and senior notes, as well as broader market and economic conditions, among other factors, and shall be in compliance with applicable law. The board retains the discretion to amend the company's dividend policy in any manner and at any time as it may deem necessary or appropriate in the future. For these reasons, as well as others, there can be no assurance that dividends in the future will be equal or similar to the amount described above or that the Board will not decide to suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future. Developments On March 31, 2015, subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord completed its merger with Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (Ainsworth). Under the terms of the all-share transaction, Norbord acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Ainsworth shareholders received 0.1321 of a share of Norbord for each Ainsworth share. Consequently, 31.8 million Norbord common shares were issued to Ainsworth shareholders, bringing the combined company's total number of shares outstanding to 85.3 million. Ainsworth is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norbord. Subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord amended its $245 million in revolving bank lines to reset the tangible net worth covenant to $450 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger and extend the maturity date for $225 million of the total aggregate commitment to May 2018. The remaining $20 million commitment matures in May 2016. Norbord also increased its accounts receivable securitization program commitment limit from $100 million to $125 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger. Annual meeting of shareholders Norbord's annual meeting of shareholders will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. A live webcast of the meeting will be available and can be accessed via www.norbord.com or www.newswire.ca. Additional information Norbord's Q1 2015 letter to shareholders, news release, management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Company's website at www.norbord.com. Shareholders are encouraged to read this material. Since the Norbord-Ainsworth merger was completed subsequent to quarter-end, Ainsworth's Q1 2015 management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have also been filed under Ainsworth's profile on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Norbord website at www.norbord.com.

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