July 29, 2015 - The federal government recently announced that it will invest approximately $16.5 million across nine Asia-Pacific Gateway transportation infrastructure projects in British Columbia, designed to support Asia-Pacific trade and boost the competitive advantages of Canada's Asia-Pacific Gateway. The announcement was made by Minister of Transport Lisa Raitt. "The Harper government is committed to helping our exporters reach fast-growing Asia-Pacific markets,” said Raitt. “These projects will help create jobs and economic growth in local communities and ensure that the Asia-Pacific Gateway remains North America's gateway of choice to Asia." The projects are expected to create jobs and economic growth by reducing bottlenecks, addressing capacity issues and enhancing the efficiency of the transportation system in moving goods, services and people to and from the fast-growing Asia-Pacific economies. The following projects were selected to receive funding from the Asia-Pacific Gateway and Corridor Transportation Infrastructure Fund (APGCTIF), in response to a call for proposals that was launched on March 13, 2015: •Deltaport Terminal Road and Rail Improvement Project, Truck Staging Project - Port Metro Vancouver; •Lansdowne Road Extension and No. 2 Road Upgrade - City of Richmond; •Bridgeview Drive Improvement Project - City of Surrey; •Knight Street and Marine Drive Intersection Improvements - City of Vancouver; •Inter-Regional Commercial Corridor Travel Time System (ICCTTS) - City of Surrey; •Railway Information Crossing System - British Columbia Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure; •13th Street and Bellevue Avenue Rail Crossing Improvements - District of West Vancouver; •Boundary Road Highway 97 S to Highway 16 W Connector Conceptual Design - City of Prince George; and •Truck Route Study - District of Squamish. This funding is conditional on the projects meeting federal eligibility requirements under the APGCTIF and the signing of a contribution agreement. To date, the federal government has invested close to $1.4 billion in APGCI infrastructure projects.
July 29, 2015 - The Quebec government has formed a working group to examine fibre supply costs and the competitiveness of the province’s forest industry. Made up of representatives from the ministries of finance, the economy and forests, the “intervention unit” has been asked to deliver a report by the fall. The working group, in turn, has identified experts from academia and industry to provide input. François Robichaud of FPInnovations and Robert Beauregard, the dean of the faculty of forestry, geography and geomatics at Laval University, will contribute to the working group. The minister of finance, Carlos J. Leitão, said having a fair and objective portrait of forest fibre costs will allow the group to identify solutions to the problems facing this industry.
July 15, 2015 — The Government of Canada has announced $5-million in new funding for Natural Resources Canada’s Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. The funding will be used for energy-efficiency and infrastructure upgrades to the centre, which conducts research on sustainable forest management, biological control of forest pests and diseases, forest productivity and forest fire research. For example, the centre is working to combat the highly destructive emerald ash borer and other harmful pests that threaten the forestry industry. “Our government is proud to support the re-emergence of our forest sector. In fact, since 2006, our government has invested an unprecedented $1.8 billion toward the ongoing transformation and renewal of the forest industry across Canada,” said Bryan Hayes, MP for Sault Ste. Marie. “Today’s investment in science and infrastructure upgrades is welcome news for the scientists conducting leading-edge research at the Great Lakes Forestry Centre in Sault Ste. Marie.” The government said the investment will help ensure Canada’s forest industry continues to support and create jobs. About Great Lakes Forestry Centre The Great Lakes Forestry Centre (GLFC) is one of five research centres within the Canadian Forest Service. Its research priorities include: Forest pests – Improving the identification, understanding and management of native and alien insects and diseases, using spatial analysis and current biological methods including genomics. Research is aimed at developing biological control methods and strategies, understanding insect biology, improving sampling techniques, and understanding the pathways by which alien pests spread. GLFC also maintains an insect-rearing and quarantine facility–a one-of-a-kind research facility that employs clean-room technology–to support research into invasive and native insects. Climate change and forest fire studies – Examining the lasting effects of climate change and forest harvesting on forests and watersheds through long-term studies, such as the one at the Turkey Lakes Watershed. Researchers are using spatial analysis to examine the role of climate in natural systems and the impacts of and adaptations to climate change. Work also includes developing knowledge of fire behaviour to advance the use of fire management tools that can, for example, help minimize the impacts of disaster fires by providing real-time maps of fire hazard conditions. Forest ecosystem research – Generating knowledge of the impacts of human-induced disturbances on forest ecosystems, and informing the development of ecosystem-based forest management policy to sustain ecological integrity. Work includes examining the ecological impacts and economic analysis of biomass harvesting on site productivity, soil nutrients and biodiversity.
July 14, 2015 - Wallingford’s has introduced new products in 2015 within their line of BABAC Traction Products. This product line now includes a 7/8” Multi-Ring and 1” Multi-Ring, as well as 7/8” Single, Diamond and a half and Double Diamond chains. BABAC forestry and heavy equipment tire chains are made of high quality boron alloy steel. This product is built by hand in Winslow, Maine, U.S. BABAC chains feature an exclusive hardening process designed to provide a uniform hardness and tensile strength throughout the steel. Wallingford’s Inc. continues to identify critical areas where loggers require better products for this evolving industry. BABAC Traction Products continually provides high quality American made products at affordable prices. BABAC offers a full line of standard tire chain patterns for skidder, forwarder, harvester, tractor, and heavy equipment applications through Wallingford’s BABAC also offers a computerized custom design capability and they specialize in custom tire chain applications for odd tire sizes. For more information, visit www.babactirechains.com
July 14, 2015 - Komatsu America Corp. recently introduced the new WA380-8 wheel loader. With a 6.69 litre, 191-HP Komatsu SAA6D107E-3, variable geometry, turbocharged and after-cooled Tier 4 Final certified engine, the WA380-8 uses up to six per cent less fuel than its Tier 4 Interim predecessor. Komatsu’s SmartLoader Logic software combines with a lockup torque converter, which activates in second, third and fourth gears. Together, the system is designed to provide optimal engine torque for improved acceleration, hill climbing, a higher top speed and fuel savings. “With one of the highest breakout forces in its class and excellent balance, this machine is made for tough digging tasks,” said Craig McGinnis, Komatsu America product manager. “The WA380-8 is ideal for carrying pipe, sand and other aggregates, site clean up and support, digging into piles and backfilling.” Komatsu designed the machine’s Komatsu Diesel Particulate Filter (KDPF) and other after treatment components to work in harmony with the engine for efficiency and long life. A selective catalyst reduction (SCR) assembly is incorporated to further reduce NOx emissions using diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). The engine uses an advanced electronic control system to manage the air-flow rate, fuel injection, combustion parameters and after treatment functions to optimize performance, reduce emissions and provide advanced diagnostic capability.In-cab enhancements and features include:•A new, air-suspension, high-back, heated seat that softens machine vibrations for operator comfort, and cast frame members for increased strength;•Seat-mounted electronic pilot control levers with F-N-R switch for operator comfort and convenience;•Pioneering Komtrax telematics system and monitor that provides key machine metrics, including KDPF status, DEF-level data, fuel consumption, plus performance information collected and sorted by operator ID; •Komatsu auto idle shutdown to reduce idle time and save fuel;•Auxiliary jack and two 12-volt ports;•A seven-inch, full colour, high-resolution monitor with ecology guidance to support more efficient machine operation; and •A dedicated, full colour, seven-inch, rear-view monitor comes standard.Additional features and benefits•Swing out cooling fan with wider fin spacing and standard auto-reversing fan for ease of cleaning; •Gull-wing engine doors that provide quick, convenient access for daily checks and service items; •Full-rear fenders are standard; and•Additional hinged panels at each side of the machine for easy access to regeneration components.The WA380-8 and every other Komatsu Tier 4 Final construction-sized machine, whether rented, leased or purchased, is covered by the Komatsu CARE program for the first three years or 2000 hours, whichever comes first. Komatsu CARE includes scheduled factory maintenance, a 50-point inspection at each service, and up to two complimentary KDPF exchanges and up to two DEF tank flushes in the first five years. With all labour, fluids and filters covered by Komatsu over this period, Komatsu CARE lowers ownership costs, raises resale value and improves equipment uptime and availability.Komatsu America Corp. is a U.S. subsidiary of Komatsu Ltd. Through its distributor network, Komatsu offers a state-of-the-art parts and service program to support its equipment. Komatsu has proudly provided high-quality reliable products for nearly a century. For more information, visit www.komatsuamerica.com.Note: All comparisons and claims of improved performance herein are made with respect to the prior Komatsu model unless otherwise specifically stated. Materials and specifications are subject to change without notice.©2015 Komatsu America Corp. All rights reserved. Komatsu America is an authorized licensee of Komatsu Ltd. KOMATSU, KOMTRAX and Komatsu CARE are registered trademarks of Komatsu Ltd. All other trademarks and service marks used herein are the property of Komatsu Ltd., Komatsu America Corp., or their respective owners or licensees.
July 13, 2015 – Atlantic Canada's most comprehensive heavy equipment show will return to the Moncton Coliseum Complex April 7 and 8, 2016. Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2016, the Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show is a true pillar of the industry. It has evolved into the must-attend event for the heavy equipment, roadbuilding, forestry, landscaping, and municipality sectors – boasting a vast indoor and outdoor showcase of the latest products, services, and big iron. This is where those in the industry go to source what they need to get the job done, on time and on budget. “Major investments in infrastructure are happening right now across the Atlantic provinces, and this mammoth show will have all of the machinery and equipment these big projects will demand,” said national show manager Mark Cusack. “Every square inch of the Moncton Coliseum will be filled, plus we’ll have an additional 80,000 square feet of outdoor exhibit space.” Held every two years, the last edition of the Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show took place in 2014 and was a sold out event with well over 13,000 visitors. The 2016 edition promises to be even bigger. The Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show is owned and sponsored by the Atlantic Land Improvement Contractors Association (ALICA). “Year after year, this show has become a gathering place for road building, construction, and forestry professionals,” said Mike Shea, president of ALICA. “These folks look to the show to keep themselves apprised of the trends in their respective industries and to help them make purchasing decisions. We’re pleased to have been the sponsor and driving force behind this event since the show’s inception in 1986.” Show informationHours: Thursday, April 7, 2016, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday, April 8, 2016, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Venue: Moncton Coliseum Complex For complete details on the Atlantic Heavy Equipment Show, visit www.AHES.ca.
July 9, 2015 - There is a growing body of evidence suggesting that the current firefighting strategies being used to fight wildfires in Western Canada could be contributing to larger fires in the region, according to recent article by Mark Hume of The Globe and Mail. The article focuses on research being done by University of British Columbia ecologist Lori Daniels, who studies forest fires and the history of forest fires across the region. Her research suggests that changes in current forest management techniques related to fighting wildfires are necessary; including increasing the importance of reducing fire hazards and putting less emphasis on the economic value of logging. To read the full story, click here.
July 2, 2015 - J.D. Irving Limited’s partnership with Natural Resources Canada's Canadian Forest Service has led to the commercial development of advanced tree breeding, field testing and seedling production techniques. "Our project will be the first large-scale seedling facility in Canada that incorporates both the somatic embryogenesis process of naturally occurring superior trees from various locations across Atlantic Canada, as well as J.D. Irving’s patented endophyte-enhanced seedling technology," said Greg Adams, manager research & development JDI Woodlands and manager of Maritime Innovation, JDI’s lab. “This research is very critical in developing resilient forests in changing environmental conditions.” Maritime Innovation, the company's new lab in Sussex, New Brunswick, was designed to use advanced seedling production technologies based on selection from Canada’s native tree population for a range of high value traits such as fast growth rate, high wood quality, resistance to insects and disease, and broad adaptation to climate change. A propagation method called somatic embryogenesis is used to produce large numbers of seedlings from a broad range of genetically diverse trees which have been field tested across the region. Another aspect of the lab’s research involves fungi called endophytes which live inside the needles and leaves of trees across the region. A range of these fungi have been selected because they produce compounds which improve their host tree’s tolerance to insect and disease attack. Methods have been developed to inoculate small seedlings in the nursery with these fungi which stay with the tree throughout its life. Overall, J.D. Irving states that this project will support higher-value Canadian-planted trees and faster regeneration of Canada’s managed forests.
June 29, 2015 - Cat’s track feller bunchers and track harvesters have recently been upgraded to boost efficiency, performance and productivity in the woods. Four models, which can be configured as feller bunchers or harvesters, are available to suit diverse logging applications and environments around the world.All models have been upgraded with the new Cat PRO (Parallel Reach Operation) System, which gives operators the ability to complete a smoother, more fluid harvesting motion. One joystick either extends or retracts the work tool by combining both the main and stick boom functions. For feller buncher configurations, the head is kept level as well. By combining these functions in one joystick, the operator can efficiently move the head in a planar, parallel motion relative to the ground. “The Cat PRO System makes operation much easier, especially for new and less experienced operators. They can learn the machine more quickly and boost their speed and productivity because of the simplified joystick movements needed to fell a tree,” said Jared Dunn, product application specialist for Caterpillar Forest Products. “The simplified movements also can increase efficiency for seasoned operators and lessen operator fatigue. The system can be turned on and off easily with a button on one of the joysticks or a button on the display.” The Cat PRO System is adjustable for differing applications and varying slopes. Through a few minor adjustments, the trajectory of the boom and the head tilt on a feller buncher configuration can be modified for applications on steeper slopes. The machines also have new enhanced power management software tailored for the unique engine-hydraulic interactions in a forestry application. “This software delivers a higher level of machine performance in the track feller buncher and harvester product lines,” Dunn said. “Operators tell us performance and therefore efficiency has greatly improved.” LED lights as standard equipment is another upgrade to the full line. “LED lights perform better than halogen in night time operations and are favored by customers around the world,” Dunn explained. “They are more energy efficient, have a longer life span and greatly improve visibility at night.” The line consists of two near-zero tail swing feller bunchers, the Cat 521B and 522B, and two full tail swing machines, the Cat 541 Series 2 and Cat 552 Series 2. The 522B and 552 Series 2 are levelling machines. As part of the upgrades, the 541 Series 2 has been reengineered to increase hydraulic flow to the stick and main boom cylinders to boost the speed and overall productivity of the machine. On average, cycle times are now 18 per cent faster, while maintaining excellent lift performance. “The 541 Series 2 — especially with this update — is well-suited for harvesting lodgepole pine in western Canada and working in high-production eucalyptus plantations where boom speed is critical,” Dunn said. The Series 2 and B Series machines are equipped with the 226 kW (303 hp) Cat C9 ACERT engine. The C9 is a common engine design with a proven track record of reliability and durability in the woods. A high capacity cooling system and on-demand reversing fan help to optimize performance, durability and fuel efficiency. Two or three hydraulic pumps, depending on the configuration, power the hydraulics to give loggers the performance they need. “The strong hydraulics and the combination of swing and lift capacity helps increase production, while the machine’s balance between lift and tipping load capacity provides for excellent stability,” Dunn said. “The strong swing torque also gives the operator the ability to swing large loads uphill.” Large structures such as swing bearings and booms have been designed for longer life and durability. The tracks and all undercarriage rolling components are high-grade to extend track life, cut repair costs and increase stability. The 552 Series 2 features 345 excavator-size chain for increased durability on steep slopes. Other models have 330 track chain and rolling components. All machine models are offered with the option of star carrier rollers, which help with track retention and debris shedding in uneven terrain. Both the B Series and Series 2 machines have a full 889 mm (35 in.) of ground clearance from front to back. “Strong drawbar pull, along with this ground clearance and the ‘open tunnel’ undercarriage design, makes for a highly maneuverable machine that easily climbs steep slopes and clears obstacles such as large stumps and rocks,” Dunn said. Both leveling models also feature a unique three cylinder leveling system, which is the only one in the industry that provides two way simultaneous function throughout the full range of motion. The design of this system reduces stress loads into the carbody and roller frames. For more information visit www.cat.com. Machine Specifications 521/522 B Series 541/552 Series 2 Gross Power @ 1,800 rpm 226 kW (303 hp) 226 kW (303 hp) Lift capacity @ X reach 6,100 kg @ 6.2m* (13,500 lbs @ 20.5 ft*) 9,400 kg @ 6.6 m* (20,700 lbs @ 21.5 ft*) Swing torque 87 kNm (64,500 ftlbs) 100 kNm (74,000 ftlbs) Tractive effort ratios 1:1.19 - 1:1.21 1:1.1 – 1:1.3 Track Pitch 216 mm (8.5 in) 216 mm (8.5 in) Ground clearance 889 mm (35 in) 889 mm (35 in) Fuel tank size 856 L (226 gal) 1181 L (312 gal) *Feller buncher configurations only Caterpillar Forest Products is a leading manufacturer and worldwide marketer of timber harvesting, millyard, road-building and land management equipment. Products are marketed under the Cat, Prentice and CTR brand names through a global independent dealer network. Caterpillar Forest Products is a division of Caterpillar Inc., the world’s leading manufacturer of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, industrial gas turbines and diesel-electric locomotives. The company also is a leading services provider through Caterpillar Financial Services, Caterpillar Remanufacturing Services, Caterpillar Logistics Services and Progress Rail Services. More information is available at www.caterpillar.com.
June 29, 2015 – Madill recently appointed Matdil Parts & Service as the authorized Madill representative for the territory of northern Alberta, effective June 16, 2015. “We are very excited to be representing the Madill brand of purpose built forestry equipment in northern Alberta,” said Matt Swenson, president of Matdil Parts & Service. “There are plenty of older Madill machines still working in this area and customers will be very excited to have local access to new Madill equipment and OEM parts.” “Madill is very pleased to be represented by Matdil Parts & Service, who has been providing services to forestry customers in the Grande Prairie region since 2008,” said Doug Jeffrey, president of Nicholson Manufacturing, the parent company that owns the Madill brand. “Madill previously had a very successful branch office in Grande Prairie, Alta., up until 2008 and Matt Swenson was part of that success as the parts and service manager for the branch. Following the closure of the Madill office in Grand Prairie in 2008, Mr. Swenson established his own business to service the many forestry customers in the region and continues to do so today. Mr. Swenson’s past experience with the brand ensures a perfect alignment with Madill’s philosophy and commitment to maximum uptime and productivity of its forestry machines.” About Matdil Since 2008, Matdil has been an independent supplier of services to forestry and other heavy equipment customers in Northern Alberta. Matdil has experience servicing Detroit Diesel, Cummins, Bosch-Rexroth, and Linde, all of which are common to Madill equipment. About Madill Madill is a purpose built forestry brand designed and manufactured in British Columbia with distribution in Canada, the U.S, New Zealand and Australia. The Madill brand of logging equipment is designed with experience developed from manufacturing over 4,000 machines over a 60 year period and has earned a reputation for its solid construction and simplicity of design which provides for superior performance, productivity and long service life.
June 22, 2015 - Ontario and Québec forestry ministers met to discuss forestry matters of mutual benefit and interest.
June 22, 2015 – The City of Revelstoke continues to debate with B.C. forests minister Steve Thomson over a proposal for logging at Mount Macpherson.
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! Who should attend? Mill managers and owners Process engineers Continual improvement managers Optimization staff Researchers Design consultants What you will 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 sponsor 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).
June 29, 2015 - Springer Maschinenfabrik AG, Friesach (Austria), and Novo Eniseisk LPK, Novo Eniseisk (Siberia), have signed a contract for the delivery of log sorting and green sorting equipment. The investment will make Novo Eniseisk LPK one of biggest sawmills in Russia with the capacity of 500,000 m3 finished material. Both lines will run at high capacity with state of the art technology. The log sorting annual capacity will be 1.1 million m3 with a maximum speed of 200 m/min. It is equipped with the latest Springer innovations such as its screw feeding technology. The green sorting will also be a high speed line with a capacity of 200 pcs/min, with high speed stacking and automatic stick handling system. “This contract proves Springer`s continuous success for high speed line installations in Russia,” said Springer CEO Timo Springer. “This installation elevates our mill to be one of the top sawmills in Russia,” added Martin Hermansson, CEO for Novo Eniseisk. “Because of the mill’s need for high capacity production, selecting Springer as a supplier was a very natural choice.” Installation starts this year and the mill will reach full capacity in the summer of 2016.
June 29, 2015 - Conifex Timber will stop production at its sawmill in Fort St. James, B.C., starting July 20. The sawmill will be closed for two weeks. The cause seems to be the 15 percent increase of import duties on lumber exports to the United States and poor market conditions.The Fort St. James mill has a two-shift capacity of approximately 300-million board feet (707,000 m3) of Spruce-Pine-Fir lumber supported by an annual harvest of 640,000 cubic metres of sawlogs.The agreement for Canadian exports of softwood lumber to the U.S. will expire in October 2015. The current trade agreement from 2006 was a solution to U.S. industry claims that Canadian forest policies subsidize sawnwood production. The agreement specifies higher duties on Canadian exports when softwood sawnwood prices are low.The Canadian industry fears uncertainty if the trade agreement is not renewed. The U.S. has agreed to not launch legal battles for twelve months after the current agreement expires in 2015.
June 25, 2015 - Williams & White has announced the newest addition to its product line; the CNC Guide Dresser.
June 19, 2015 – Autolog recently released its new knot identification technology based on the detection of wood fibre orientation. The new TBS-2 sensor uses a dual laser technology to maximize tracheid data collection for high accuracy knot detection. The first laser emits a series of dots, which is spaced at 1/4” and the second laser emits a solid line spaced at 1/2” from the dotted line. The first laser line provides information on the direction of the fibre and the second laser line provides information on the dispersion of light in the fibre. By combining this data, the TBS-2 sensor is designed to identify knots with a very high level of accuracy and with virtually no false detection. This sensor is the first in a new series that can operate at upwards of 4,000 ft./min. The operating speed of the sensor is designed to allow for readings to be taken at 1/8” (0.125”) at 4,000 ft./min. It also operates at a speed of 1/10” (0.100”) at 3,000 ft. /min.
June 16, 2015 - To get a glimpse of the future of sawmilling you could do worse than cruise down US Highway 195 to Lewiston, Idaho. There, Idaho Forest Group (IFG) is in the midst of a US$60 million plus upgrade that includes the first HewSaw SL250 3.4 sawline in North America, among the finest operating stations this side of the Atlantic, and a Springer Microtec CT scanning system that may take some of the guess work out of log optimization. Mill manager Jesse Short says this reflects an innovation that starts right at the top.
June 12, 2015 - Duke Point sawmill in Nanaimo, B.C. is about to get some serious upgrades, courtesy of $30 million in new capital investment from Western Forest Products. Lee Doney, chair of Western Forest Products, made the announcement of his company’s investment in the mill on June 11. “Our harvesting strategies and continued demand for our western red cedar and specialty lumber products allows us to make the needed strategic capital investment at this time,” said Doney. “We recognize we need to continue to invest in our operations to maintain our strong competitive position.” B.C. Premier Christy Clark and Forests, Lands and Natural Resource Operations Minister Steve Thomson were on hand to join in the Doney’s celebrations following the announcement. “Forestry plays a vital role in Vancouver Island's diverse economy,” said Clark. “By making investments and staying competitive, Western Forest Products is ensuring jobs stay right here in Nanaimo - jobs people can depend on to raise a family.” “The forest sector is a mainstay of B.C.’s economy and it’s encouraging to see Vancouver Island’s largest forest company continue to invest in forestry’s future,” added Thomson. Of the $30 million, $28 million will be invested in Western Forest Products’ Duke Point sawmill to modernize the sawmill, planer mill and install new autograding technology to improve productivity and reduce production costs. The company is investing $2 million in its Chemainus and Ladysmith sawmills. These investments are part of the company’s $125-million capital strategic investment program, which Western expects to improve its competitiveness and gain access to new markets. Duke Point is one of seven sawmills that Western Forest Products has on Vancouver Island. The company also has two remanufacturing facilities and is North America’s largest cedar lumber manufacturer. The company ships products to 28 different countries and provides jobs to 2,000 employees and 1,500 contractors. For more information on Western Forest Products, visit http://www.westernforest.com.
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.
Nov. 25, 2014, Mississauga – Weston Forest Products Inc. has purchased an interest in Toronto-based Bramwood Forest Products, effective December 1, 2014. "Bramwood has been a strong competitor of ours for many years," said Ekstein. "They are an excellent company, with great remanufacturing capabilities, great people and a loyal customer base. We look forward to a long and prosperous relationship." Bramwood owner and President Nir Meltzer will remain as a partner. He will continue as President – and will operate Bramwood as a fully independent entity. That means for customers, suppliers, and employees of both entities, it will be business as usual. "Weston recognizes that Bramwood's growth over the past 25 years has been based on our culture and our unique approach to business," said Meltzer. "We want to ensure that continues, which is why both businesses will continue to maintain independent operations, locations and brands." Weston Forest is one of North America's leading full service distributors and remanufacturers of softwood & hardwood lumber and specialty panel products. Weston maintains an extensive inventory of industrial and commodity lumber and panels to provide just-in-time service to the crating and industrial packaging industry, construction and infrastructure sector, and Lumber and Building Materials dealers, including MSR lumber for truss manufacturers. Weston also acts as an exclusive sales agent for a group of SPF sawmills in northern Ontario, producing mostly rough lumber in dimensions up to 12x12x32'. Weston Forest operates a distribution and remanufacturing facility at the head office in Mississauga, Ontario, and uses several distribution and remanufacturing facilities in Quebec, Ontario, Michigan, New York and Maryland. Bramwood Forest Products was established in 1990 by the Meltzer family and has grown to become one of Ontario's leading suppliers to the Industrial marketplace as well as several specialty markets. Bramwood remanufactures lumber & panels at their facility in Toronto providing a variety of value added products. Bramwood has also positioned itself as a major player in the Premium Strapping market, in addition to being a leading supplier of Framestock to furniture manufacturers as well as Lagging and Shoring to the construction industry.
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 $125 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger. Annual meeting of shareholders Norbord's annual meeting of shareholders will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. A live webcast of the meeting will be available and can be accessed via www.norbord.com or www.newswire.ca. Additional information Norbord's Q1 2015 letter to shareholders, news release, management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Company's website at www.norbord.com. Shareholders are encouraged to read this material. Since the Norbord-Ainsworth merger was completed subsequent to quarter-end, Ainsworth's Q1 2015 management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have also been filed under Ainsworth's profile on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Norbord website at www.norbord.com.
April 29, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2015. "We are pleased with these results that show healthy demand in our core markets as well as the strong contribution of our recent acquisition. Furthermore, adjustments in our selling prices in response to higher input costs for untreated railway ties helped us to improve our gross profit margin when compared to recent quarters," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Financial highlights (in millions of Canadian dollars, except per share data) Quarters ended March 31, 2015 2014---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sales 340.7 257.5 Operating income 47.6 34.7 Net income for the period 30.1 22.5 Per share - basic ($) 0.44 0.33 Per share - diluted ($) 0.43 0.33 Weighted average shares outstanding (basic, in '000s) 68,953 68,737 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- First quarter results Sales reached $340.7 million, up 32.3 per cent from $257.5 million a year ago. The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. ("Boatright") on May 22, 2014 generated sales of $21.1 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 $29.4 million when compared with last year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $32.7 million, or 12.7 per cent. Railway tie sales amounted to $166.8 million, up 53.5 per cent from $108.6 million last year. Excluding sales from Boatright and the foreign currency conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 21.7 per cent, primarily as a result of adjusted selling prices. Sales of utility poles reached $119.2 million, an increase of 10.9 per cent compared with $107.5 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales increased 1.9 per cent, as a steady rise in sales of distribution poles stemming from regular maintenance projects, was partially offset by slightly lower sales of transmission poles due to the timing of orders for special projects. Sales of residential lumber totalled $28.4 million, up from $17.3 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a strong economy as well as in Western Canada where the Company increased its market reach in British Columbia. Industrial product sales increased to $19.9 million, compared with $15.8 million a year ago, mainly due to the contribution of the Boatright assets and the foreign currency conversion effect. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales were $6.4 million, versus $8.3 million last year, due to the timing of timber harvesting. Gross profit reached $66.4 million, or 19.5 per cent of sales, up from $50.3 million, or 19.5% 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 was stable year-over-year, as adjusted pricing for railway has matched the 2014 cost increases of untreated railway ties. As a result of higher gross profit, operating income increased 37.2 per cent to $47.6 million, or 14.0 per cent of sales, versus $34.7 million, or 13.5 per cent of sales, last year. Net income for the first quarter of 2015 increased 33.7 per cent to $30.1 million or $0.43 per share, fully diluted, compared with $22.5 million or $0.33 per share, fully diluted, in the first quarter of 2014. Solid financial position As at March 31, 2015, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $517.2 million compared with $444.6 million three months earlier. The increase essentially reflects higher working capital requirements, as per normal seasonal demand patterns, and the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at March 31, 2015 Stella-Jones, total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.40:1, compared with 0.39:1 as at December 31, 2014. Working capital requirements included the normal seasonal inventory build-up ahead of peak demand in the second and third quarters. The seasonal inventory build-up was more accentuated in the first quarter of 2015 due to untreated railway tie availability returning to normal levels, which enabled Stella-Jones to start rebuilding inventory levels. As a result, the value of inventories stood at $611.5 million as at March 31, 2015, versus $487.7 million as at December 31, 2014. Letter of intent to acquire Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. During the quarter, the Company signed a non-binding letter of intent to purchase the shares of Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ram Forest Products Inc. and Trent Timber Treating Ltd., Ram Forest Group manufactures and sells pressure treated wood products and accessories to the retail building materials industry. Ramfor Lumber is a lumber purchasing entity serving Ram Forest Products and Trent Timber Treating. Ram Forest Products operates a wood treating facility in Gormley, Ontario and Trent Timber Treating operates a wood treating facility in Peterborough, Ontario. The wood milling plant operated by Ram Forest Products in Uxbridge, Ontario is not part of the transaction, and existing Ram Forest Group shareholders will continue to own this plant. Consolidated sales of the acquired facilities for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014 reached approximately $90.2 million. The transaction, if finalized, is expected to close in October 2015 and is subject to customary conditions, including satisfactory due diligence, signature of a definitive share purchase agreement and regulatory clearance. Stella-Jones plans to finance the transaction through its existing revolving credit facility. "This transaction will expand Stella-Jones' wood treating capabilities in the residential lumber market and allow us to build upon Ram Forest Group's longstanding relationships with key customers. The proposed timetable for the transaction has been carefully designed to minimize disruption of Ram Forest Group's operations and ensure a seamless transition for its customers, suppliers and employees," added Mr. McManus. Quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share On April 28, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per common share, payable on June 26, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 2, 2015. Outlook "As we believe the momentum in the North American economy will continue, demand for our core products should remain solid in 2015. Stella-Jones remains focussed on enhancing shareholder value by optimizing the efficiency of its continental network, while seeking selective and accretive opportunities to further expand its presence in the wood treating industry, as evidenced by the proposed acquisition in Ontario," concluded Mr. McManus. Conference call Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on April 29, 2015, at 1:30 PM Eastern Time. 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 17072554. This tape recording will be available on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 as of 5:30 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 6, 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. (TSX:SJ) 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 first quarter ended March 31, 2015 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com
March 26, 2015 — Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) ("Stella-Jones" or the "Company") today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.
Feb. 24, 2015 – The UCS Forest Group of Companies (UCS) announced that they have reached an agreement to acquire the assets and ongoing business activities of the British Columbia business unit of White-Wood Distributors Ltd. UCS does business in Canada as Upper Canada Forest Products Ltd. “We are delighted with the opportunity to service the customers and support the suppliers that have been dealing with White-Wood throughout British Columbia,” stated Warren Spitz, President & CEO of UCS. “I would like to offer my thanks to Mark Yusishen for choosing us as White-Wood’s successor in this market. Our corporate strategy to grow in key markets continues across North America and we are very excited about this most recent opportunity.” “Our decision to complete this transaction with Upper Canada was based in part on our shared values and commitment to excellence in customer service’” commented Mark Yusishen, President & CEO of White-Wood. “We are confident that our valued customers in B.C. will continue to be well-served.” This is the third acquisition in the past 10 months for the UCS Forest Group, which recently acquired Reimer Hardwoods operations in Alberta and the Atlas Lumber Company in Los Angeles, California. Upper Canada Forest Products has serviced the British Columbia market for over 20 years and operates from an 80,000 sq. ft. warehouse in Burnaby and a second facility in Kelowna. In a timely manner, White-Wood’s operations will be integrated into Upper Canada’s facilities.
Nov. 13, 2014, Woodstock, NB – Garant GP, a leading Canadian manufacturer of snow removal and gardening tools, has modernized its value-added mill to help increase yield from the wood supply and improve the plant's efficiency, thanks to support from the Government of Canada. The Woodstock operation has been manufacturing handles for Garant GP's specialty lawn, garden and snow removal tools since its opening in 1961 and was later acquired by the company in 1968. Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency), joined Garant GP officials at the sawmill to tour the facility. "With the current market conditions, the Canadian manufacturing industry is more than ever challenged to maintain a high efficiency level to remain competitive in the North American marketplace. With ACOA's involvement in the funding of this project, this will enable Garant GP and its employees to maintain employment in New Brunswick. Having been part of the Woodstock community for over 50 years, carrying out this project will help to ensure the continuity of our operations for many years to come," says Jean Gaudreault, President, Garant GP. The project involved a building expansion and the installation of advanced technology to improve the plant's productivity. An obsolete circular saw and carriage were replaced with a new high efficiency band saw and carriage. A new scanner technology system was also added to improve wood usage. These upgrades will increase the profitability of the various lines of wooden dowels that are manufactured at the Garant GP sawmill, and help the plant remain competitive. "Our Government is pleased to work with businesses like Garant GP to help strengthen the economy of our region. The expansion and new equipment at Garant's Woodstock sawmill will increase productivity and improve overall efficiency and will boost the sustainability and competitive edge of this business," says Mike Allen, Member of Parliament for Tobique-Mactaquac, on behalf of the Honourable Rob Moore, Regional Minister for New Brunswick and Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency). The Government of Canada is investing $473,300 in the project, through ACOA's Business Development Program. Garant GP is a national leader in the manufacturing of non-motorized winter snow removal and summer gardening tools, thanks to its continuous investment in new technologies and the development of a highly skilled and experienced workforce. Founded in 1895 in Saint-François, Quebec, Garant GP was originally a small family operation that offered hand fashioned and forged tools.
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Webinar - Strategies in SME in Eastern CanadaWed Aug 26, 2015 @ 2:00pm - 03:00pm
Demo Foret 2000Fri Aug 28, 2015 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm
International Scientific Conference on Hardwood ProcessingTue Sep 15, 2015
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RISI North American ConferenceMon Sep 28, 2015 @ 8:00am - 05:00pm