November 25, 2015 - The recent report of the chief forester for Quebec takes stock of the health of the public forest in Quebec and presents an analysis of progress and areas for improvement related to seven major sustainable development criteria and 26 issues. The analysis focuses particularly on the protection of biodiversity, timber production and companies’ values with regard to decisions affecting the forest."The health of the Quebec forest was maintained during the period 2008-2013 but challenges remain to be overcome, however, in certain territories and in particular issues," says Gerard Szaraz, chief forester for Quebec. Szaraz explains the forest’s health by noting that the timber harvest was well below the allowable cut and that natural disturbances (fire, insects and diseases) were lower than the average of recent years. The application of various forest protection measures (protected areas, protection targets and certification) also forms part of the basis of the chief forester’s observation."I am optimistic about the conservation of biodiversity and maintenance of ecosystem functions of the forest environment. However, we need to monitor certain issues, such as the quality of the hardwood forest, the progression of the spruce budworm epidemic and the development of woodland caribou habitat. "In his report, the chief forester indicates that the period 2008 to 2013 was marked by a major forestry crisis. "I am also concerned about the loss of timber quality and value,” said Szaraz. “I also found that the more intensive cultivation of the forest remains marginal and that management decisions are not based on economic analysis. So there are major challenges to reinvigorate the forestry sector in Quebec.”The chief forester recommends more rigorous monitoring on the ground to better measure the effect of silvicultural treatments over time, and continued support of forestry research to face the challenges of climate change.The full report is available, in French, on the web site of the Office of the Chief Forester: http://forestierenchef.gouv.qc.ca/.
November 20, 2015 - This year’s winner of the international Swedish Steel Prize is Ponsse from Finland. The prize is awarded for the company’s new generation of forest harvester, the Scorpion. Ponsse has with high-strength steel realized a revolutionary design which improves both performance and comfort. “Ponsse has not only significantly improved operator ergonomics, but also enhanced functionality and safety, and increased productivity with this new design,” says Gregoire Parenty, chairman of the jury and executive vice-president and head of market development, SSAB. The Finnish company Ponsse decided that by building a new harvester around the operator, with a focus on ergonomic, they could improve both performance and comfort. The Ponsse Scorpion features a symmetrical crane boom where the operator sits in the centre point of all movements. If offers the operator total visibility and the ability to work comfortably and efficiently. By using Strenx 700 MC Plus high-strength steel in the crane arms, Strenx 700 in the chassis and Hardox 450 in the cutter head, the Scorpion has a lower overall weight which helps manoeuvrability in rough terrain. Lower weight allowed more bearings to be added, which gives the Scorpion its unique stability. Furthermore, fuel consumption has been reduced and boom movements are faster. The Swedish Steel Prize was awarded for the 17th time in conjunction with a three-day event at which 700 participants from around the world gathered to share the latest findings on high-strength steel. The other finalists, Facil System from Brazil, Milotek from South Africa, and Terex Cranes from Germany, were runners-up in the Swedish Steel Prize 2015. The Swedish Steel Prize was established by SSAB in 1999 to inspire and disseminate knowledge about high-strength steel and how it can be used to develop stronger, lighter and more sustainable products. About SSAB SSAB is a Nordic and US-based steel company. SSAB offers value added products and services developed in close cooperation with its customers to create a stronger, lighter and more sustainable world. SSAB has employees in over 50 countries. SSAB has production facilities in Sweden, Finland and the US. SSAB is listed on the NASDAQ OMX Nordic Exchange in Stockholm and has a secondary listing on the NASDAQ OMX in Helsinki.
November 19, 2015 - The Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is applauding an issues paper released by the Canadian Climate Forum that documents how forests and products made from tree fibre will play an increasingly critical role in the transition to a low carbon economy. The study, "Contributing to Climate Change Solutions," authored by scientist Dr. Stephen Colombo was released today at an event sponsored by FPAC. The paper explains how forests and trees play a dual role in mitigating climate change. Forests store vast amounts of carbon, a greenhouse gas responsible for climate change. Canadian forests absorbed 150 million tonnes of CO2 from the air in 2013, more than all of Canada's emissions from cars and trucks in the same year. Trees also provide a sustainable supply of raw materials for products that have lower carbon footprints than their alternatives. About 39 million tonnes of carbon are stored in wood products harvested from Canadian managed forests in 2013. "The carbon forests sequester from the atmosphere is increasingly important given the risks climate change poses to Canada and the rest of the world,” says Colombo. "Sustainably managed Canadian forests and products made from trees can contribute to the critically important objective of reducing global warming." "We are delighted to see this paper confirm how our renewable forests can play a role in mitigating climate change," says David Lindsay, president and CEO of FPAC. "The fact that products made from wood and tree fibre are also preferable from the perspective of carbon means our sector can help in the transition to a low carbon economy while also contributing to jobs and economic growth." Forest products include traditional lumber and paper but also new innovative products such as car parts, green chemicals, and advanced construction systems. The paper also notes that climate change is having a direct impact on Canadian forests with increasing forest fires and more devastating insect outbreaks such as the mountain pine beetle. "Adapting to climate change through best practices in forest management to increase forest resilience can also be a long term investment in reducing atmospheric CO2," says Colombo. "We need a partnership between the forest industry, local communities, Aboriginal communities, environmentalists and all levels of government to explore evolving practices of sustainable forest management. What happens to the large carbon sinks in Canada's forests and to Canada's forest industry will have global consequences for climate change and its mitigation." Source: Forest Products Association of Canada
November 18, 2015 - Jemi Fibre Corp. announced it has entered into a 50/50 joint partnership with Fernie Wilderness Adventures Inc. (FWA), one of British Columbia's premier outdoor adventure operations. FWA is a full service outdoor adventure resort specializing in backcountry snow-cat skiing and boarding, and guided fishing and wildlife tours that was established in 1986 by Kim and Deb Sedrovic. FWA is located on a portion of Jemi Fibre's private timberlands near Fernie, B.C., an internationally renowned mountain town famous for its beautiful wilderness and recreational sporting activities. Under the terms of the partnership, the parties will jointly own FWA, which will operate under a long-term lease on Jemi Fibre's lands, and the Sedrovics will continue to operate the business in the regular course. In addition, the parties intend to utilize Jemi Fibre's road building, forestry expertise and equipment, in connection with Jemi Fibre's ongoing operations on its lands, to enhance FWA's snow-cat skiing and boarding. "I am extremely happy with our new partnership with Jemi Fibre," Kim Sedrovic commented. "They share our vision and will provide the stability and resources to enhance our operations and take the FWA business to the next level." Mike Jenks, CEO of Jemi Fibre, said, "We recognize that our timberlands provide social and economic value to communities and businesses for many types of uses. Our goal is to maintain and enhance these opportunities wherever possible. With our FWA partnership, we look forward to growing the business and generating additional long-term value from our private timberlands." About Jemi Fibre Jemi Fibre is a Western Canadian based forest products company which trades on the TSX Venture Exchange under the symbol JFI. Jemi Fibre's operations consist of timber ownership and management of private timberlands and Crown forest licenses, full service logging and trucking operations, post-peeling and wood treatment operations for the agricultural market and specialty lumber manufacturing. The Company's head office and principal place of business is located at 1110-1111 West Georgia Street, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. About Fernie Wilderness Adventures FWA is a full service outdoor adventure resort specializing in backcountry snow cat-skiing, guided fishing and wildlife tours. Operating for over 25 years, FWA specializes in entertaining guests on some of British Columbia's most pristine, powder choked runs. Along with its other year-round, exceptional guided fishing and wilderness tour activities, FWA has one goal in mind - provide a unique outdoor experience in a relaxed, casual atmosphere, where guests enjoy the outdoors in the great Canadian Rocky Mountains.
November 12, 2015 – One of the largest heavy equipment dealers in Saskatchewan, Redhead Equipment, now offers sales, parts, service, and financing on Sennebogen material handling equipment. Constantino Lannes, president of Sennebogen LLC, announced Redhead’s appointment as the latest addition to the Sennebogen distributor family. “With seven locations from Lloydminster to Swift Current and more than 100 technicians in the province, Redhead can provide fast, reliable service for Sennebogen customers,” says Lannes. “As a matter of fact, they have already scheduled a number of their techs to come to Stanley for training before Christmas – that’s commitment.” “What sets us apart is our long history of parts and service support in Saskatchewan,” adds Gary Redhead, president and CEO of Redhead Equipment. “We’re well respected in the industry. We have a reputation for getting the job done.” Redhead views Sennebogen’s reputation for quality as a good fit for his business. “I talked to a lot of dealers, and I never heard a bad thing about Sennebogen anywhere. That’s the kind of partner you want,” Redhead says. Redhead also likes the fact that Sennebogen has a culture of problem solving for its customers. “Sennebogen is willing to build equipment to solve a particular problem,” he says. “That means our customers’ choices are truly unlimited.” Sennebogen applications in mining, steel mills, scrap, forestry & waste By adding Sennebogen to its product lineup, Redhead can now offer its existing customers a purpose-built choice for their material handling applications. The change will help Redhead staff build on their existing customer relationships in a variety of industries. Redhead also identified applications for Sennebogen equipment within the scrap, steel and forestry industries. With a forestry specialist on staff, he plans to begin demonstrating Sennebogen forestry equipment soon. The power of choice As an award-winning Saskatchewan dealer, Redhead prides itself on its customer service. Over more than 65 years of business, Redhead has earned a stellar reputation in the province. SaskBusiness Magazine has named Redhead Equipment as one of the Top 100 Companies in Saskatchewan for 19 consecutive years. About Sennebogen Sennebogen has been a leading name in the global material handling industry for over 60 years. Based in Stanley, North Carolina, within the greater Charlotte region, Sennebogen LLC offers a complete range of purpose-built machines to suit virtually any material handling application. Established in America in the year 2000, Sennebogen LLC has quickly become a leading provider of specialized equipment solutions for recycling and scrap metal yards, demolition, barge and port operations, log-handling, transfer stations and waste facilities from coast to coast. A growing network of distributors supports Sennebogen LLC sales and service across the Americas, ensuring the highest standard of professional machine support and parts availability. Learn more at www.sennebogen-na.com.
November 12, 2015 - Finning International Inc. will exit 11 facilities in Western Canada in order to continue its cost reduction in struggling markets. Combined with the previously announced closure of 16 facilities, the Company's footprint in Western Canada will be reduced by over 20% by mid to late 2016.The company made the announcement as part of its third quarter financial release, which saw revenues decline by 10% from Q3 2014 to $1.5 billion, driven by 30 per cent lower new equipment sales, down in all operations due to a difficult economic environment and reduced demand for new equipment across all market segments. While consolidated product support revenue was up 3% from Q3 2014, product support was lower in all regions in functional currency, reflecting reduced activity levels. In response to a further decline in market activity, marked by a 27% drop in new equipment sales from Q2 2015, the Company announced an additional workforce reduction of approximately 1,100 people or 8%, bringing the total workforce reduction to approximately 1,900 people or 13% in 2015. Excluding severance, loss on a building sublease, and facility closure costs, Canada's operating profitability or EBIT margin in Q3 2015 improved from the previous two quarters, despite lower revenues. Including the recent workforce reduction of 450 people, the Canadian operations will have reduced their workforce by approximately 1,100 people or 20% in 2015. The Company generated $140 million in free cash flow, a 28% increase from Q3 2014, driven by Canada, including a positive contribution from the newly acquired Saskatchewan dealership. "In line with significant steps already taken to adjust to the economic downturn, we took further decisive actions to reduce costs and implement sustainable operational improvements as market conditions weakened in the third quarter," said Scott Thomson, president and CEO of Finning International. "These steps include reducing the size of our global workforce by 1,900 people since the beginning of the year and 2,500 people since the start of the downturn in mid-2013. We also continued to restructure our Canadian branch network, effectively reducing our facility footprint by over 20% since the beginning of the year, to optimize the utilization of our assets throughout the cycle. While these are difficult decisions, we believe we are taking the right path to adjust our business to market realities and ensure financial strength, while simultaneously positioning Finning to deliver customer service more effectively and efficiently over the long-term." "These organizational changes, coupled with the operational improvements we are implementing, are driven by our focus on providing value for our customers and our shareholders. In particular, the changes made to our facility footprint are underpinned by our solid commitment to our customers and follow careful consideration of their needs. We believe our resulting facility footprint provides the right support to enhance our customers' experience, meet their evolving requirements, and improve sales and service levels through our larger service centers and extended resident field teams," continued Mr. Thomson. "Our focus on managing the factors within our control has contributed to preserving a strong balance sheet and allowed us to improve profitability in our Canadian operations on a quarter by quarter basis throughout 2015 despite a very challenging business environment. Being able to achieve these outcomes under current market conditions gives me confidence that we will be well-positioned when demand strengthens. Going forward, we will continue to implement operating improvements which earn our customers' loyalty, and maintain cost and capital discipline as we manage through persistent market uncertainty," concluded Mr. Thomson.Summary of Canadian resultsRevenues were down 16%, driven by a 35% decline in new equipment sales due to significantly lower demand from all sectors, particularly for core construction equipment in Alberta. Product support revenues were 3% below Q3 2014, mainly as a result of lower service revenues, as customers continued to postpone maintenance and in-source some service work to reduce operating costs. Rental revenues declined by 15% reflecting the slowdown in the short-term rental market. Compared to Q2 2015, revenues declined by 14%, as a 37% drop in new equipment sales was partly offset by a 5% increase in product support revenues, including a positive contribution from the Saskatchewan dealership. Gross profit margins declined in all lines of business, with the exception of service margins, which increased over last year as a result of the successful implementation of operational improvement initiatives. Difficult market conditions, customers' continued focus on cost reductions, and a weaker Canadian dollar has led to increased competitive pressures. These pressures were offset by the shift in revenue mix to higher-margin product support, which contributed 56% to Canada's revenue compared to 49% in Q3 2014. The Canadian operations announced additional cost reduction measures in response to weaker market conditions, including further rationalization of its workforce and facilities network. Q3 2015 SG&A included severance costs of approximately $12 million compared to $3 million in Q3 2014. Excluding severance, SG&A costs decreased almost 10% from Q3 2014 primarily due to workforce reductions, cost saving initiatives, improved operating efficiencies, and lower variable costs due to reduced sales activity. Since the end of 2014 and including the recent workforce reduction announcement of approximately 450 people, the Canadian operations will have reduced their workforce in 2015 by approximately 1,100 people or 20% to align its cost structure to reduced activity levels. To improve efficiencies, reduce costs, and optimize service delivery to customers, the Company announced that it will exit 11 facilities in Western Canada. The changes to the facility footprint follow comprehensive review and are designed to support the Company in delivering on its commitment to earn customer loyalty by providing superior sales and service support. Combined with the previously announced closure of 16 facilities, the Company's footprint in Western Canada will be reduced by 600,000 square feet or more than 20% by mid to late 2016. Q3 2015 results include a $6 million loss related to centralizing the Canadian head-office operations into one building as part of cost reduction efforts. In Q4 2015, the Company expects to recognize up to $15 million in restructuring costs associated with the facilities optimization announcement. EBIT decreased to $34 million from $80 million in Q3 2014 reflecting significantly lower revenues and gross profit due to the market downturn, as well as higher severance costs and a loss on a building sublease. Excluding these items, Q3 2015 EBIT would have been $52 million. EBIT margin declined to 4.6% from 9.2% in Q3 2014. Excluding severance costs, and the loss on a building sublease, Q3 2015 EBIT margin was 7.0%. This was a sequential improvement from the adjusted EBIT margin of 6.5% in Q2 2015 (excluding $2 million of severance costs), and the adjusted EBIT margin of 5.8% in Q1 2015 (excluding $17 million of severance and facility closure costs), despite lower revenues which were down 14% from Q2 2015, and down 7% from Q1 2015. Invested capital in Canada increased by about $130 million from Q2 2015 due to the addition of the Saskatchewan dealership ($240 million purchase price). Excluding the acquisition, the decrease in invested capital levels from Q2 2015 was driven by lower accounts receivable and a reduction in equipment inventories. The Canadian operations continue to focus on reducing inventory to align with lower activity levels. Invested capital turnover declined to 1.92 from 2.05 in Q2 2015 due to lower revenues and higher average invested capital.
October 29, 2015 -Drone technology is quickly finding its way into a variety of commercial applications and the forestry sector can also take advantage of this new remote sensing platform. Imagery from aircraft and satellite has been used for decades to generate forest inventory and build annual and long-term forest management plans. However, efficient tools and methods for more frequent revisits, but on a smaller scale, could be very useful for improving decision making of more dynamic and evolving events; which is often the case in active harvesting areas. Due to limited infrastructure requirements of modern photogrammetric techniques and ease of acquiring images in remote, small and scattered areas, close-range photography on a drone platform has the potential to be used for: • Live video streaming for visual inspection; • Orthomosaics for treatment monitoring and analysis; • 3D point clouds for surface reconstruction; • Tree identification and volumetric estimation; • Infrared images for hot spot detection; • Multispectral images for identification of tree species and tree health; • and the list goes on… FPInnovations' work aims at testing the feasibility and strength of this new technology in various forestry applications. They also plan to focus on image analysis automation to facilitate and lower the cost of the applications. This webinar will cover early results, implementation challenges and strategies for introducing promising applications. And all of this for only $25! To register, click here. Date: November 25, 2015 Time: 2:00 p.m., EST
November 9, 2015 - Weyerhaeuser Co. agreed to buy Plum Creek Timber Co. for about $8.4 billion to create a real estate investment trust that will be the largest private owner of timberland in the U.S. Plum Creek stockholders will get 1.6 shares of Weyerhaeuser for each share they own, the companies recently stated. The deal carries a 21 per cent premium to Plum Creek’s closing price on Friday. Federal Way, Washington-based Weyerhaeuser plans a $2.5-billion stock buyback shortly after the completion of the deal, which is expected late in the first quarter of next year or early in the second quarter. The new company will own more than 13 million acres (5.3 million hectares) of timberland across the U.S. and produce lumber and wood-fibre boards used in construction. The companies said the merger will save $100 million of costs each year. Weyerhaeuser CEO Doyle Simons will retain the title in the combined company while Plum Creek CEO Rick Holley will be non-executive chairman. “We saw a unique opportunity to combine the two industry leaders,” Simons said. The new combined company will have “a strong balance sheet, which is going to position us to continue to grow this company,” he said. Trust helped Holley said his trust in Simons helped finalize the deal. “The timing is right, and it makes sense to do this,” Holley said. Weyerhaeuser said in a separate statement that it will review alternatives for its cellulose fibres business that include holding on to it, a sale or a spinoff. The unit, which accounted for 26 per cent of company revenues last year, makes raw materials used in textiles, paper and diapers. The acquisition of Seattle-based Plum Creek needs the approval of both companies’ shareholders. Weyerhaeuser expects to maintain the current dividend, representing a 13 per cent increase to the payout now enjoyed by Plum Creek shareholders, the companies said. Weyerhaeuser’s financial adviser on the takeover is Morgan Stanley and its legal counsel is Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP. Plum Creek’s financial advisers are Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp., while legal counsel is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP.
November 6, 2015 – DigitalGlobe has reached an agreement with Intelescope Solutions to enable global-scale satellite imagery data for the forestry industry. Intelescope is a global provider of forestry analytical services. It will run its own patented algorithms against millions of square kilometres of high-resolution earth imagery within the DigitalGlobe's Geospatial Big Data Platform to generate timely and relevant information for its customers. Intelescope’s clients, which include forestry land owners, managers and consultants, timber REITs, TIMOs, and pension and hedge funds, are keenly interested to understand commercial timber volumes and health on a global scale. “Intelescope Solutions is among the vanguard of cutting-edge companies that are leveraging satellite imagery and big data analytics to answer truly large and difficult questions,” said Dr. Shay Har-Noy, DigitalGlobe’s senior director of Geospatial Big Data. “DigitalGlobe’s GBD platform is tremendously valuable to industries like forestry and agricultural for its ability to assess the health and size of trees and plants on both an individual plot and aggregate global basis.” “By partnering with DigitalGlobe, we are enabling more efficient management and a richer knowledge of timber assets, allowing for the optimization and preservation of valuable forest resources,” added Dr. Adam Messer, CEO of Intelescope Solutions. “Our customers will benefit from massively decreased processing times, increased cost-effectiveness, and our ability to take on projects that simply are not feasible without access to the world’s largest library of commercial satellite imagery.”
October 30, 2015 - WorkSafeBC’s governing body, the Board of Directors, approved the release of a discussion paper with options to stakeholders for consultation on Item AP1-2-1, Exemptions from Coverage of the Assessment Manual. U.S. carriers who are employers under the Workers Compensation Act must register with WorkSafeBC and pay premiums, pro-rated based on the kilometres travelled in B.C., but many out-of-province Canadian employers in the trucking industry do not. Canadian carriers registered under the Alternative Assessment Procedure for Interjurisdictional Trucking register for workers‚ compensation coverage in each province where they operate or have workers, but only pay premiums in the province(s) where their workers live and usually work. In the discussion paper, WorkSafeBC is proposing policy options regarding exemption criteria to address this issue of U.S. carriers paying premiums in their home state as well as in B.C. WorkSafeBC also proposes to change the wording of the policy to better reflect how the exemptions work within the larger legal framework. Stakeholders are invited to review the discussion paper and proposed options and to provide feedback by November 24, 2015. The discussion paper, policy options, and information on providing feedback are available here.
October 27, 2015 - Droughts experienced throughout many of the forests across Western Canada played a key role in forest fires that took place this past summer. As the weather cools and fall settles in, the rain has started to return to some regions to feed water-starved forests. Unfortunately in many cases, the damage has been done and has opened the door to a new, but familiar threat - insects.
October 26, 2015 - Resource road networks provide vital year-round access to forestry operations across Canada, in addition to general public access for remote communities and recreational activities. They also provide access for silviculture, land management, and fire suppression crews.
November 20, 2015 - Whether in stems, saw logs or veneer logs, it’s long been a dream to have detailed information about the quality of sawn or peeled products prior to making the crucial first breakdown decision. CT log scanning in the sawing or bucking process allows virtual sawing and quality grade evaluation of each product in a breakdown pattern, before sawing. The information is then used to optimize the breakdown process using value, rather than volume. Systems running at production speeds are already in action. Join us at OptiSaw 2015 to see a full presentation on this approach, and much more. Seating is limited - register today!
November 20, 2015 - Millar Western announced it will be shutting down its Boyle, Alta. lumber operation indefinitely and has issued severance notices to operation employees. The company cited current market conditions and the mill's cost structure as uneconomical to continue to operate the facility at this time. The operation will undergo a phased shutdown, with the wind-down of site activities to start in December and be completed in February 2016. Boyle employees have been advised of the shutdown timing and are being provided with information about the severance compensation and other support they will receive. "We recognize the impact this closure will have on our people, whose dedicated service has been very highly valued, as well as on our contractors, suppliers and the community of Boyle, whose support over the years has been greatly appreciated," said president and CEO Craig Armstrong. Millar Western will monitor market conditions and review the Boyle facility's future operation as circumstances warrant. The company's Whitecourt and Fox Creek operations will continue to operate at full capacity.
November 19, 2015 - Consolidated sales for the three-month period ended September 26, 2015, were $373 million, as compared to $371 million in the same quarter a year ago. The company generated a net loss of $32 million or $0.32 per share in the September 2015 quarter compared to net earnings of $5 million or $0.05 per share in the September 2014 quarter. The current quarter results include a non-cash loss of $38 million related to the translation of U.S. dollar denominated debt. Operating earnings before depreciation, amortization and other items (adjusted EBITDA) was $36 million for the three-month period ended September 26, 2015, as compared to adjusted EBITDA of $29 million a year ago and adjusted EBITDA of $2 million in the prior quarter.For the fiscal year ended September 26, 2015, consolidated sales were $1.4 billion as compared to $1.5 billion in the prior year. The company generated a net loss of $150 million or $1.50 per share compared to net earnings of $9 million or $0.09 per share in fiscal 2014. The current year loss includes a non-cash loss of $81 million related to the translation of U.S. dollar denominated debt. Adjusted EBITDA was $70 million compared to $90 million in the prior year. Operating earnings declined from $88 million to $31 million in the most recent 12-month period.Business segment resultsThe Specialty Cellulose Pulp segment generated adjusted EBITDA of $15 million on sales of $121 million for the quarter ended September 2015, compared to negative adjusted EBITDA of $6 million on sales of $108 million in the prior quarter. Pulp sales increased by $14 million due to higher shipments of both specialty and viscose grades. The $63 per tonne increase in Canadian dollar selling prices for specialty grades was due to currency as both U.S. dollar and euro selling prices did not increase. The $68 per tonne increase in the selling price of viscose and other commodity grades was also currency driven as the U.S. dollar selling prices were relatively unchanged. Overall, higher pulp prices increased adjusted EBITDA by $5 million. Shipments were equal to 87 per cent of capacity, compared to 78 per cent in the June 2015 quarter. The June 2015 quarter results were significantly impacted by major planned maintenance at both pulp mills. The Tartas facility, which takes major maintenance every 18 months, was down for approximately two weeks in April 2015. The Temiscaming facility, which conducts major maintenance every 12 months, was idled for approximately one week in May 2015. There was no major maintenance downtime at either pulp mill in the September 2015 quarter and they produced 12,700 more tonnes compared to the June 2015 quarter. Overall, mill cash costs declined by $18 million, including $8 million of maintenance material.The Forest Products segment generated adjusted EBITDA of $4 million on sales of $107 million for the quarter ended September 2015, compared to negative adjusted EBITDA of $3 million on sales of $103 million in the prior quarter. Sales increased by $4 million due to higher SPF lumber prices and shipments. Lumber shipments were equal to 84 per cent of capacity versus 83 pert cent in the prior quarter. During the September 2015 quarter, the random length lumber reference price increased by US $1 per mbf while the reference price for stud lumber decreased by US $13 per mbf. Currency was a significant favourable factor as the Canadian dollar averaged US$0.765, a 5.9 per cent decline from US$0.813 in the prior quarter. The combined effect was that Canadian dollar selling prices increased by approximately $11 per mbf, increasing adjusted EBITDA by $2 million. Sawmill manufacturing costs declined by $6 million, primarily due to the lower cost of timber.The Paper Pulp segment generated adjusted EBITDA of $7 million on sales of $80 million for the quarter ended September 2015, compared to adjusted EBITDA of $3 million on sales of $90 million in the prior quarter. The $10 million decrease in sales was due to lower shipments. The benchmark price (delivered China) for bleached eucalyptus kraft (BEK) increased by US$8 per tonne. However, the increase did not carry over into the high-yield paper pulp market and US dollar prices declined by US $28 per tonne. The decline in the relative value of the Canadian dollar offset the drop in US dollar prices. Overall, average selling prices in Canadian dollars were relatively unchanged quarter-over-quarter. Pulp shipments were equal to 92 per cent of capacity as compared to 104 per cent in the prior quarter. In the September 2015 quarter, the two pulp mills produced 5,400 more tonnes as compared to the prior quarter. The higher productivity combined with lower fibre, energy and maintenance material reduced costs by $5 million.The Paper segment generated adjusted EBITDA of $13 million on sales of $91 million for the quarter ended September 2015, compared to adjusted EBITDA of $9 million on sales of $86 million in the prior quarter. Higher coated bleached board shipments and prices led to the $5 million increase in sales. The coated bleached board market was stable. The coated bleached board shipment to capacity ratio was 93 per cent compared to 87 per cent in the prior quarter. Currency was a positive factor as the Canadian dollar weakened versus the US dollar. The U.S. dollar reference price was unchanged at $1,180 per short ton. Overall, average selling prices for coated bleached board were up $55 per tonne increasing adjusted EBITDA by $2 million. Manufacturing costs decreased by $1 million. The newsprint market remained weak with continued decreases in North American demand. The newsprint shipment to capacity ratio was 77 per cent compared to 85 per cent in the prior quarter. The U.S. dollar benchmark price for newsprint declined by US$32 per tonne. The previously noted decline in the relative value of the Canadian dollar offset this decline and Canadian dollar newsprint selling prices were unchanged quarter-over-quarter. Manufacturing costs at the Kapuskasing newsprint mill were similar to those of the prior quarter.Previous guidanceOn September 11, 2015, the company issued a forecast for the fourth quarter ended September 26, 2015. At that time, the company was having discussions with certain parties regarding its previously announced intentions to enhance its liquidity. Such discussions had led to questions regarding the company's financial performance in the September 2015 quarter and it was deemed prudent to provide guidance on expected operating results. The company expected that adjusted EBITDA for the September 2015 quarter would be in the range of $31 million to $34 million. Actual adjusted EBITDA for the September 2015 quarter was $36 million. The outperformance versus forecast was due primarily to a weaker Canadian dollar, which averaged US$0.755 in the month of September versus US$0.77 assumed in the forecast.Subsequent eventOn November 18, 2015, the company announced that it had entered into a new asset-based loan (ABL), which consists of a $150 million revolving credit facility (revolving loan) and a US$62 million "first-in, last out" term loan (FILO loan). The new ABL replaced the company's existing $175 million ABL revolving credit facility. The revolving loan will expire on November 18, 2020, provided several conditions are met, including repayment of the FILO loan prior to March 2, 2018, failing which the maturity would be accelerated to an earlier date, but not earlier than March 2, 2018. The revolving loan has a first priority charge over the receivables and inventories of the company's Canadian and U.S. operations. The FILO loan is secured by the same collateral as the revolving loan and ranks second in repayment priority relative to the revolving loan. The FILO loan is also secured by a first priority charge on the fixed assets of one of the company's U.S. subsidiaries. The company utilized borrowings under the new ABL to repay the amounts outstanding under the prior ABL revolving credit facility and pay transaction fees and expenses. After giving effect to the refinancing, the company's total liquidity at November 18, 2015, was approximately $112 million, compared to $56 million at the end of the September 2015 quarter.OutlookOverall, the September 2015 results were better than initially anticipated. The lower Canadian dollar combined with a relatively light major maintenance schedule increased adjusted EBITDA by $34 million over the prior quarter. As expected, the Specialty Cellulose adjusted EBITDA improved by $21 million due to the absence of major maintenance and higher productivity. Price realizations improved, primarily due to currency. Fiscal 2015 shipments of specialty grades are down 13 per cent from the prior fiscal year, although a large portion of this decline occurred in the first two quarters of the year. It is difficult to forecast demand and prices for fiscal 2016 at this time. The upcoming annual contracts negotiations with our customers will provide more insight. To offset the lower specialty demand, the Company is increasing the production of viscose grades at the Temiscaming operation. The investment in the new boiler and turbine has reduced energy costs significantly, allowing the pulp mill to compete and generate positive margins in this lower-priced line of business. The Forest Products segment adjusted EBITDA improved by $7 million, primarily driven by foreign exchange and lower seasonal costs. U.S. dollar selling prices were relatively low and we are now in the fall period during which lumber prices are seasonally weaker. We remain bullish on the medium and longer term outlook for lumber driven by a gradual increase in US housing starts. The Paper Pulp segment adjusted EBITDA improved by $4 million due to lower costs and higher productivity. However, demand for high-yield pulp is relatively weak in certain markets, and the Company anticipates that market downtime will be required in the December 2015 quarter. The Paper segment adjusted EBITDA increased by $4 million. The coated bleached board markets remain stable and this business should continue to generate good results bolstered by a relatively weaker Canadian dollar. Ongoing weakness in the newsprint markets continues to put downward pressure on prices and this situation will likely persist in the coming quarters.About TembecTembec is a manufacturer of forest products – lumber, pulp, paper and specialty cellulose – and a global leader in sustainable forest management practices. Principal operations are in Canada and France. With annual sales of approximately $1.5 billion, Tembec has 3,250 employees and is listed on the TSX (TMB). The full quarterly report, including the interim Management Discussion and Analysis, the interim financial statements and the accompanying notes for the quarter ended September 26, 2015, can be obtained on Tembec's website at www.tembec.com or on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.The Company`s financial results have been prepared in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB). All financial references are stated in Canadian dollars, unless otherwise noted. All references to quarterly information relate to Tembec's fiscal quarters. Adjusted EBITDA and certain other financial measures utilized in the press release are non-IFRS financial measures. As they have no standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS, they may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. Non-IFRS financial measures are described in the Definitions section on the last page of the interim Management Discussion and Analysis (MD&A).This press release includes "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of securities laws. Such statements relate, without limitation, to the Company's or management's objectives, projections, estimates, expectations or predictions of the future and can be identified by words such as "may", "will", "could", "anticipate", "estimate", "expect" and "project", the negative or variations thereof, and expressions of similar nature. Forward‑looking statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience, information available to it and its perception of future developments. Such statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, changes in foreign exchange rates, product selling prices, raw material and operating costs and other factors identified in the Company's periodic filings with securities regulatory authorities, including under the "risk factors" section of the Company's most recent Annual Information Form. Many of these risks are beyond the control of the Company and, therefore, may cause actual actions or results to materially differ from those expressed or implied herein. The forward-looking statements contained herein reflect the Company's expectations as of the date hereof and are subject to change after such date. The Company disclaims any intention to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable securities legislation.
November 13, 2015 - Canadian Biomass and Canadian Forest Industries’ recent dust mitigation webinar series is now available for viewing for a limited time!Learn the latest tips and methods for managing dust in sawmill and pellet operations from John Bachynski, who has over 30 years experience managing dust explosion environments, through the following webinars:Dust Mitigation I - Managing the riskIs your operation at risk? Are you confident in your risk assessment skill set? How do you know if you are doing enough, or perhaps even too much, to manage your specific risk? Join John Bachynski as he walks you through the array of risks associated with wood or pellet processing in his unique hands-on manner.Dust Explosion Mitigation II - Managing the dustA whopping 51 per cent of explosions happen in the dust collection system, and yet there are a range of myths and technical fallacies still making the rounds in Canada's wood products and pellet sector. Join John Bachynski as he walks us through the most cost-effective ways to manage dust for a variety of operations. Are you protected, are your systems safe, and have you covered the seven critical explosion areas in your mill? Dust Explosion Mitigation III - Managing the liabilityDo you fully understand your inspection and compliance requirements and liabilities? Recent events have shown what can go wrong, so don't be caught on the wrong side of this crucial issue. From dust collection to system maintenance, John Bachynski walks you through the complexities from an operational perspective.
OptiSaw 2015 covers new technology, best practicesSawmill operators strive to reduce unit costs and increase product quality. OptiSaw 2015 is your chance to join sawmillers from across North America in hearing about tomorrow’s scanning, optimization and automation technology, and see how some of it is being used today! The agenda includes: · Automation and data-driven manufacturing: Join robotics expert David McPhail as he walks us through the latest in this field and talks possible applications for lumber manufacturers. Have a challenge – Ask David! · Real-time CT scanning: With a unit already running at a North American bucking line, Springer Microtec’s CTO will discuss how sawmillers can look inside the log for a truly optimal decision. · RF drying of planer wets: Vincent Lavoie of FPInnovations will walk us through trials of an inline process for re-drying planer mill wets without sacrificing kiln efficiency or lumber quality. · European efficiency: Join us as we are led through the process flow and technology decisions surrounding a recently rebuilt sawmill addressing high labour costs and quality demands. · Double duty optimizers: In this case study, Eric Michaud discusses how both capital costs and simplicity were best served by feeding the flow of both green and dressed lumber through a single trimmer optimizer and sort line. · Simple wood flow optimization: Modeling tools can be a great help in deciding which logs to send where, but they can also require specialized staff. Francis Charette describes a simple new modeling tool that can be used by most staff without a degree in linear programming. · Optimizing the kiln: Bob Pope walks us through mill case studies using counter-flow continuous kiln technology to reduce costs and enhance control. OptiSaw 2015 takes place on December 2, 2015 in Montreal.Space is limited so register now!
November 6, 2015 - Tight capital budgets and space constraints can challenge optimization project ROIs. One sawmill took a different approach, asking its trimmer optimizer to upgrade the flow from both the sawmill and planer mill. As part of a recent upgrade, JD Irving’s mill in Ashland, Maine wanted to reduce capital costs, leading to a flow that processes both rough green and dry lumber on the same trimmer optimizer and sorter line. For more details on this project, watch the case study presentation at OptiSaw 2015 in Montreal December 2, or read the feature in our July/August issue.
November 3, 2015 - PwC recently announced the successful sale of Manning Diversified Forest Products Ltd. (MDFP) to West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (West Fraser). MDFP is located near Edmonton, Alta. and produces high quality lumber for a variety of end users. West Fraser, a diversified wood products company holds facilities in western Canada and the southern United States. They are publicly traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol “WFT.” In early 2015 the PwC Corporate Finance team in Vancouver was retained as the exclusive financial advisor to MDFP and its shareholders in connection with the transaction. We led all aspects of the transaction process including preparing the company for sale, marketing the deal to several dozen strategic and private equity parties and securing competitive offers for the business—all of which ultimately allowed MDFP's shareholders to achieve deal success with an excellent price and terms. The total transaction value amounted to C$66 million plus working capital at closing. The deal represents a marquee win for the PwC Corporate Finance team. RBC Capital Markets analyst Paul Quinn commented on Oct. 28, "We note that the purchase price is on the high end, but as management noted, the company paid a premium price for a premium asset." West Fraser president and CEO Ted Seraphim echoed these comments, stating in the company's Q3 earnings call that walking into that mill felt like they were walking into a mill that West Fraser had owned for many years.
October 30, 2015 - A trial testing an inline system to examine and re-dry “wets” one board at a time to improve lumber quality and drying efficiency was recently done by FPInnovations. FPInnovations’ Vincent Lavoie will discuss the concept and trials on combining radio frequency (RF) technology with a streamlined process to identify and re-dry wets ar OptiSaw 2015. Avoid over-drying at the main kilns or excess handling of wets with this single-board approach! Problem boards are identified ahead of the planer, and then diverted to an inline RF system that treats, and re-treats, boards until they meet an acceptable MC. “This allows us to target a proper MC level out of the kilns without overdrying the bulk of the charge to meet the needs of a few wet pieces. It also does so in a very efficient and automated way,” the seasoned researcher explains. To discover more about this technology and early mill trials, hear Vincent’s full presentation and Q&A period at OptiSaw 2015, December 2 in Montreal. www.optisaw.com
October 26, 2015 - EACOM Timber Corporation recently approved three new capital projects at the Timmins and Val d’Or sawmills. At the dimension lumber mill operation in Timmins, Ont. a new lumber grading system will be installed in the planer mill, complete with an upgrade to the entire planer mill control systems. The primary supplier for this project is Autolog Sawmill Optimization in Blainville, Que. The project cost is $2.8 million and will feature the latest technology to automatically grade the visual characteristics of finished lumber. The expected benefits are improved grade yields and higher lumber recovery. The project will be completed in January 2016 and comes on the heels of a $27-million investment to rebuild the sawmill after a devastating fire in January of 2012. The Val d’Or studmill in Quebec will be modernized by receiving upgrades to the sawing line and to the scanning and optimization for the trimmer and sorter. The total cost of both projects is $2.9 million and will be completed in November 2015. The primary vendors for these projects are Hewsaw Machines from Finland and Autolog Sawmill Optimization in Blainville, Que. Both projects will improve the lumber recovery and upgrade the controls systems in the sawmill. With these recent projects, EACOM has invested over of $6 million at its Val d'Or sawmill since 2013. “These capital investment projects at the Timmins and Val d'Or sawmills build on EACOM's previous investments in its Ontario and Quebec sawmills to increasing our capacities in shifts, employment levels and production,” said Kevin Edgson, CEO of EACOM. “Investments such as these demonstrate our commitment to maintaining strong assets and position us better for future stability.” About EACOM EACOM Timber Corporation is a major supplier of lumber and wood products in North America. Operations include the manufacturing, marketing, and distribution of lumber and wood-based, value-added products, and the management of forest resources. EACOM currently owns seven sawmills, five in Ontario and two in Quebec, as well as a remanufacturing facility in Quebec and a partnership operation in an engineered I joist plant in Ontario, for a total of 800 employees. The company is committed to investing in strong assets, including healthy forests, advanced technology, and talented people. For more information, visit www.eacom.ca. Source: EACOM Timber Corporation
October 26, 2015 - When Hefler Quality Lumber decided to upgrade its sawmill last March, they didn’t expect to be undergoing a ton of renovations. But after a harsh winter storm collapsed a section of the roof and walls within the Middle Sackville, N.S. mill, the company was forced to increase the scope of the facility’s upgrades.
October 23, 2015 – Rexroth’s latest GoTo Focused Delivery Program update includes additions across all product lines and shorter GoTo lead times — 98 per cent of the products in the program ship in 10 days or fewer. With hundreds of products added with this update, customers will benefit from new options across the spectrum of Rexroth’s drive and control technologies. Key additions to the hydraulics program include hundreds of new part numbers, with more options in Compact Hydraulics and Axial Piston products, as well as the addition of the new configurable hydraulic power unit, GoPak. The conveyor offering will also grow with a large collection of spare parts for our TSplus conveyor series; lead times for 90 mm series VarioFlow plus conveyor components will shrink to just four days! For motion control customers, additional IndraDrive Mi motor-integrated drive sets have been added to the GoTo program, along with the new VR series of HMIs. We are also adding products to our selection of linear motion components, including the MKR linear module. Rexroth’s GoTo Products app for iPad, iPhone and Android has been updated with all of the latest products. Users are now able to view all of the latest products, retrieve local pricing, find their local salesperson or distributor, add products to a cart and email it for a quote. The program changes are reflected in all of the latest catalogs on our website at: www.boschrexroth.ca/GoTo. Rexroth’s popular GoTo Products app has been fully updated to support customers anywhere in North America. With the just-released version 4.0 for iPad, iPhone and Android, users can retrieve local pricing, find their local salesperson or distributor, add products to a shopping cart and email it for a quote. The app also features new capabilities for sharing app content via social media, the creation of multiple wish lists for easy re-ordering of products and quick access to numerous how-to videos and other useful content. App users can instantly retrieve all of the updates by using the apps’ sync-on-demand feature at any time after installation. Central Europe, Brazil and many other countries have also introduced the benefits of streamlined access to GoTo products to their customers as well. For a complete listing, visit our international website at www.boschrexroth.com/goto. About Bosch Rexroth: Economical, 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, visit www.boschrexroth.ca.
October 23, 2015 - Restarting a sawmill and rebuilding moose populations in British Columbia's Interior are now the focus of reconciliation talks between the provincial government and Tsilhqot'in Nation. The talks began last year after the Tsilhqot'in won title in court to 1,750 square kilometres of its territorial lands in the remote Nemiah Valley. Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad said in an interview Wednesday that both sides have signed a letter of intent, which is the next step in the reconciliation work. "It's a way to get out of the starting blocks for us to be able to spend some time working on a couple very important issues," he said. He said a working group will examine the possibility of restarting the River West Forest sawmill, located west of Williams Lake, and look at business opportunities on the site. "One of the things that is going to be critical as we go forward working with the Tsilhqot'in is finding ways for Tsilhqot'in to be self sustaining," he said, adding the nation has identified the mill as one potential economic opportunity. Both sides have also agreed to find ways to support the recovery of the region's moose population. Rustad said anecdotal evidence suggests the local moose population has declined, so the nation wants to work with the government to reverse the trend. He said moose are important culturally to the local aboriginal and non-aboriginal population. The Tsilhqot'in also want to spend more time consulting with community members, Rustad said, noting the nation and government have been in conflict for more than 150 years and trust will take time to build. Tsilhqot'in Chief Joe Alphonse said in a news release that the nation will get a closer look in the coming months at the economic opportunities available at the sawmill site. "A history of mistrust of B.C. is still very real for us," he said. "We are using this as a test of B.C.'s commitment to reconciliation." Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announced last month the installation of distance signs, written in Tsilhqot'in and English, on Highway 20 and several other major routes west of Williams Lake. He said the signs are meant to honour the history and culture of the region's original people. - by Keven Drews in Vancouver
November 20, 2015 - Luxor Industrial Corporation (Luxor) announced that its Canadian framing division, Mill Frame Inc. (MF Inc.) has signed its first contract with Quantum Place Developments Ltd. of Alberta. (http://quantumplace.ca/) The contract for the Raven Rock project located in Canmore, Alta. is in excess of $1 million. MF Inc. is the exclusive framer for Quantum Place Development Ltd. In addition to providing framing, MF Inc. will be supplying pre-fabricated wall panels and precision cut engineered wood floor systems for the project commencing in November, 2015. In the forward period, MF Inc. has several million dollars in letters of intent and signed off quotation sheets. The company will advise details as contracts are signed. On November 5, 2015, Luxor announced that it had entered into two non-binding letters of intent to acquire the wood framing businesses of Colt Builders Inc. in Canada and Mill Frame LLC (www.Millframe.com) of the United States. Such businesses are involved in the turnkey framing of housing projects in Canada and the United States. Terry Lashman, CEO of Luxor advises, "All parties are fast tracking the closing of the acquisitions as well as expansion to the western United States. We anticipate significant growth for Luxor from these acquisitions and we are extremely pleased with the working relationship with the new members of the management team." About Luxor Industrial Corporation Luxor is involved in the development, engineering, manufacturing and marketing of engineered wood products and operates in three sectors. In the industrial sector, it manufacturers wood mat products for various applications including transmission lines, pipelines, wind farms, staging areas, boardwalks and pathways and oil and gas and mining operations. In residential construction, it manufactures and markets its patented IBS 2000® and patent pending IBS3000 engineered floor bridging. Luxor has spent years analyzing wood-frame flo construction, establishing itself as a leading authority in wood floor performance engineering. Luxor also manufactures and markets other building components, architectural wood products and offers various custom wood cutting services. In the commercial sector it distributes and designs engineered wood products (laminated beams) for use in large wood structures. This news release contains forward-looking information that involve various risks and uncertainties regarding future events. Such forward-looking information can include without limitation statements based on current expectations involving a number of risks and uncertainties and are not guarantees of future performance of Luxor, such as statements that the company may enter into and close the definitive agreements as contemplated and that the company may raise financing to fund the development of the acquired businesses. There are numerous risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results and Luxor's plans and objectives to differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking information, including: (i) adverse market conditions; (ii) the inability of Luxor to raise funds to execute on its business plan with respect to the recently acquired wood framing businesses; (iii) the Exchange not approving the transactions; or (iv) the inability to close the transactions for any reason. Actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such information. These and all subsequent written and oral forward-looking information are based on estimates and opinions of management on the dates they are made and are expressly qualified in their entirety by this notice. Except as required by law, Luxor does not intend to update these forward-looking statements. Neither the TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
November 18, 2015 - Canada Wood Group (CWG) announced that effective immediately, Scott Ellinger has been appointed Canada Wood China managing director. He will work out of the Shanghai office. Ellinger served in prominent positions throughout a 22-year decorated career in the U.S. Army. This included a term as a Sino-Affairs expert for the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as various U.S. Embassy and consular office roles held overseas. Ellinger also worked for two private sector companies providing strategic management and guidance to their Asian operations. As the new managing director, Mr. Ellinger will further strengthen Canada Wood's efforts in the People's Republic of China. Ellinger has resided in numerous Asian locations for the past 17 years including Beijing, Shanghai, Taipei and various cities in Korea and Japan. He is fluent in Mandarin Chinese and Korean and brings to the position knowledge of Chinese customs and business practices combined with expertise in people management and strategic development. Ellinger will be travelling to Canada in early 2016 for orientation and to meet funders and industry stakeholders. About Canada Wood Group Established in 2003, CWG is a non-profit government and industry funded trade association that represents nine wood product associations located across Canada. With offices in China, Europe, Japan, Korea, India and a head office in Canada, CWG helps Canadian wood products manufacturers diversify and expand export opportunities in traditional and emerging markets.Source: Canada Wood Group
October 30, 2015 - Norbord Inc. today reported Adjusted EBITDA of $30 million in the third quarter of 2015 compared to $19 million in both the second quarter of 2015 and third quarter of 2014. The increase versus the two comparative periods is primarily due to higher shipment volumes and a number of cost improvements. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $22 million in the quarter compared to $11 million in both the prior quarter and the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $11 million in the quarter versus $10 million in the prior quarter and $11 million in the same quarter last year. "Our improved financial results reflect the excellent operational performance of our North American and European mills," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's president and CEO. "Our continued focus on controllables has generated $24 million more EBITDA year-to-date from increased productivity and lower raw materials usage. These improvements are positively impacting our manufacturing costs along with lower resin prices and the weaker Canadian dollar. North American housing demand continues to grow and sales to our home construction, home improvement and industrial customers are all increasing. While the recent increase in North American OSB prices is not yet visible in our financial results due to the lag effect of maintaining an order file, we will see this benefit in the fourth quarter. "In Europe, our panel business delivered another solid quarter. Sales volumes in our key U.K. and German markets continue to improve and are offsetting the impact of lower OSB prices and the weaker Euro. Encouragingly, we believe we have finally seen a bottom in the downward OSB price trend on the continent. "Finally, we have made steady progress on our integration efforts following our merger with Ainsworth six months ago. To date, we have captured $20 million of our $45 million annualized synergies target, with further operational and sales/logistics benefits to come by year-end." Norbord recorded an adjusted loss of $4 million or $0.05 per share (basic and diluted) in the third quarter of 2015 compared to an adjusted loss of $12 million or $0.14 per share (basic and diluted) in the prior quarter and $11 million or $0.13 per share (basic and diluted) in the third quarter of 2014. Adjusted losses exclude non-recurring items and use a normalized income tax rate: Market conditions In North America, September year-to-date U.S. housing starts were up 12 per cent versus the same period in 2014 and the current seasonally-adjusted annualized rate is 1.21 million. Single family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by 11 per cent. Permits were 13 per cent higher year-to-date. The consensus forecast from U.S. housing economists is approximately 1.1 million starts for 2015, which would be a 10 per cent improvement over last year. After bottoming in early August, North American benchmark OSB prices increased steadily during the remainder of the quarter as U.S. new home construction activity and OSB demand continued to improve. The North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $204 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis) for the quarter, compared to $193 per Msf in the previous quarter and $216 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In the South East region, where approximately 35 per cent of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices were largely unchanged, averaging $176 per Msf compared to $174 per Msf in the prior quarter and $177 per Msf in the same quarter last year. The Western Canada benchmark averaged $158 per Msf for the quarter, compared to $152 per Msf in the previous quarter and $187 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 U.K. and Germany. OSB prices remained under pressure year-over-year as eastern European supply was redirected toward the west due to the ongoing Ukraine conflict, but were flat quarter-over-quarter for the first time in 12 months. Particleboard prices remained steady, while medium density fibreboard (MDF) prices were down slightly. As a result, third quarter average panel prices were in line with the prior quarter and 10 per cent lower than the same quarter last year. Performance North American OSB shipments increased two per cent quarter-over-quarter and year-to-date and three per cent year-over-year, primarily due to increased mill productivity and fewer maintenance shuts. Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at approximately 90 per cent of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec), unchanged from the prior quarter and up from 85 per cent in the same quarter last year. Mill productivity improved year-over-year with capacity utilization impacted by the timing of maintenance shuts. Two mills achieved quarterly production records. Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit decreased by four per cent compared to the prior quarter, 14 per cent versus the same quarter last year and nine per cent year-to-date. Unit costs declined due to improved productivity, lower raw material use and resin prices, fewer maintenance shuts and the weaker Canadian dollar. In Europe, Norbord's shipments increased three per cent versus the prior quarter, five per cent versus the same quarter last year and four per cent year-to-date. One mill achieved a quarterly production record and the European operations produced at approximately 100 per cent of stated capacity, unchanged from both the prior quarter and the same quarter last year (90 per cent based on restated capacity disclosed at year-end 2014). Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $34 million year-to-date primarily from improved productivity and lower raw material use. MIP gains are measured relative to the prior year at constant prices and exchange rates. Capital investments totalled $43 million year-to-date, down from $88 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 $145 million at quarter-end compared to $151 million in the prior quarter and $121 million at the end of the same quarter last year with changes primarily driven by the timing of both payments and maintenance shuts. At quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $323 million, consisting of $2 million in cash and $321 million in unused credit lines. At quarter-end, $44 million was drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. The Company's tangible net worth was $722 million and net debt to capitalization on a book basis was 51 per cent. Both ratios remain well within bank covenants. Dividend The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of CAD $0.10 per common share, payable on December 21, 2015 to shareholders of record on December 1, 2015. 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. 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. Normal Course Issuer Bid Norbord also announced today that the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) has accepted its notice of intention to conduct a normal course issuer bid in accordance with TSX rules. Under the bid, Norbord may purchase up to 4,270,085 of its common shares, representing five per cent of the company's issued and outstanding common shares of 85,401,715 as of October 20, 2015, pursuant to TSX rules. Purchases under the bid may commence on November 3, 2015, and will terminate on the earlier of November 2, 2016, the date Norbord completes its purchases pursuant to the notice of intention to make a normal course issuer bid filed with the TSX or the date of notice by Norbord of termination of the bid. Purchases will be made on the open market by Norbord through the facilities of the TSX or alternative trading systems, if eligible, in accordance with the requirements of the TSX and applicable Canadian securities laws. The price that Norbord will pay for any such common shares will be the market price of such shares at the time of acquisition. Common shares purchased under the bid will be cancelled. Norbord's average daily trading volume on the TSX during the last six calendar months was 198,359 common shares. Daily purchases of common shares will not exceed 49,589 subject to the Company's ability to make "block" purchases under the rules of the TSX. Norbord did not acquire any common shares in the past 12 months. Norbord believes that the market price of its common shares at certain times may be attractive and that the purchase of these common shares from time to time would be an appropriate use of Norbord's funds in light of potential benefits to remaining shareholders. From time to time, when Norbord does not possess material non-public information about itself or its securities, it may enter into an automatic purchase plan with its broker to allow for the purchase of common shares at times when Norbord ordinarily would not be active in the market due to its own internal trading blackout periods, insider trading rules or otherwise. Any such plans entered into with Norbord's broker will be adopted in accordance with applicable Canadian securities laws. Additional information Norbord's Q3 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. The company has also made available on its website presentation materials containing certain historical and forward-looking information relating to Norbord, including materials that contain additional information about the Company's financial results. Shareholders are encouraged to read this material. Note: Financial references in US dollars unless otherwise indicated. Results reflect combined company performance following completion of merger with Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (Ainsworth) on March 31, 2015 and all prior period comparatives have been restated. 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 Q3 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated October 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 Q3 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated October 29, 2015 for a quantitative reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings (loss) to earnings (the most directly comparable IFRS measure).
October 15, 2015 - Second quarter 2015 net earnings reported by the major Canadian forest products companies are overall lower than the first quarter 2015 and second quarter of 2014, according to PwC’s Global Forest and Paper Industry Net Earnings Summary. The report notes that a decrease in the price of lumber and panels impacted the major Canadian building products manufacturers, including Canfor, West Fraser and Norbord. However, the foreign exchange rate in Q2 2015 was beneficial to Canadian companies exporting to U.S., and the average softwood pulp (NBSK) prices increased to US$975/tonne from US$888/tonne in Q1, reports PwC. Hardwood pulp (BEK) prices increased to US$892/tonne from US$759/tonne in Q1. PwC says the Canadian dollar averaged $0.81 USD in the second quarter of 2015, down significantly from the 2014 first quarter average of $0.91 USD. Western Canadian-based companies posted net earnings of $3.6 million in the second quarter of 2015, compared to net earnings of $121.9 million in the first quarter of 2015 and net earnings of $167.6 million in the second quarter of 2014. Second quarter results of softwood lumber producers Canfor and West Fraser were impacted by the decrease in lumber and panel prices. Canfor reported quarterly earnings of $23.9 million, compared to $47.0 million in the first quarter and $64.5 million in the second quarter of 2014. West Fraser reported quarterly earnings of $14.0 million, compared to $49.0 million in the first quarter and $74.0 million in the second quarter of 2014. Eastern Canadian-based companies posted net losses of $25.2 million in the quarter, compared to net losses of $121.3 million in the first quarter of 2015 and losses of $30.1 million in the second quarter of 2014. Cascades posted net earnings of $24.0 million in the quarter, compared to net losses of $35.0 million in the first quarter of 2015 and losses of $83.0 million in the second quarter of 2014. The company’s second quarter results were driven by higher sales volumes in the containerboard and tissue papers business segments, slight increases in average selling prices and a favourable foreign exchange environment. South of the border, nine of the largest U.S.-based forest and paper companies reported net earnings of US$519.5 million in the second quarter of 2015, down from earnings of US$1.29 billion in the first quarter of 2015 and US$1.30 billion in the second quarter of 2014. The merger of packaging companies Rock-Tenn Company and MeadWestvaco Corporation was finalized in the second quarter after receiving approval from the shareholders of both companies. The newly formed entity, WestRock Company, will be the second largest U.S.-based packaging company, with a market capitalization of US$16 billion. International Paper is currently the largest packaging company in the U.S. with a market capitalization of US$20 billion. Ten of the largest European based forest and paper companies reported net earnings of € 751.0 million for the second quarter of 2015, down from € 825.1 million in the first quarter of 2015 and €615.9 million reported in the second quarter of 2014. Six of the largest forest and paper companies in Japan posted net earnings of US$367.4 million in the second quarter of 2015, compared to earnings of US$215.2 million in the first quarter of 2015 and earnings of US$ 150.5 million in the second quarter of 2014. In the Emerging Markets regions, five of the largest forest and paper companies reported net earnings of US$458.8 million, compared to net losses of US$409.2 million in the first quarter of 2015 and net earnings of US$562.9 million in the second quarter of 2014. The depreciation of the Brazilian Real against the US dollar and price increases for pulp bolstered both Fibria and Suzano’s second quarter results. Fibria reported quarterly earnings of US$199.9 million, compared to losses of US$202.0 million in the first quarter. Suzano reported quarterly earnings of US$148.4 million, compared to losses of US$271.9 million in the first quarter.
September 17, 2015 - Louisiana-Pacific Corporation announced that it will not submit a project to the Quebec Minister of Forests, Wildlife and Parks’ Project Office to reacquire the wood license associated with its Chambord, Que., oriented strand board (OSB) mill. After an in-depth analysis of the mill’s historical and projected costs, LP determined that market demand does not warrant operating the Chambord mill at this time, and it is not appropriate to reacquire the wood license without a plan for operating the mill. “Based on these analyses, we do not believe that in the current OSB market, the mill can be operated competitively,” LP executive vice-president, OSB, Brad Southern said. “The mill will remain curtailed indefinitely for the foreseeable future.” LP indefinitely curtailed production at the mill in 2008 due to worsening North American housing market conditions. OSB is a commodity structural panel product that is highly dependent on cyclical and sometimes volatile North American housing starts and subject to competitive forces of regional supply and demand. LP’s decision to not submit a project is based on the ongoing soft market for residential building materials in North America, high production and raw materials costs in Chambord and a competitive landscape that has become more challenging over the last seven years. “The restart of this mill will require a substantial capital investment, and there’s no guarantee that we would get a return on that investment now, or in the foreseeable future,” said Mike Blosser, LP’s vice-president for EHS, forest resources, supply and logistics. It is important to note that LP continues to operate and invest in its Maniwaki, Que., OSB mill, Blosser said. “We look forward to working with the Ministry to ensure the economic viability of LP Maniwaki through volatile cycles of the North American housing market,” Blosser added. About LP Louisiana-Pacific Corporation is a leading manufacturer of quality engineered wood building materials including OSB, structural framing products, and exterior siding for use in residential, industrial and light commercial construction. From manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Canada, Chile and Brazil, LP products are sold to builders and homeowners through building materials distributors and dealers and retail home centers. Founded in 1973, LP is headquartered in Nashville, Tennessee and traded on the New York Stock Exchange under LPX. For more information, visit www.lpcorp.com.
September 16, 2015 - ARAUCO North America announced plans to build a new particleboard mill in Grayling, Mich. to produce 424 million sq. ft. (750,000m3)/year of panels, along with full lamination capabilities to support the company's thermally fused laminate decorative surfacing program.This $325-million investment will be the single largest continuous particleboard press in North America and one of the highest capacity presses in the world. Groundbreaking is estimated for late 2016, with the rollout of the first panel during the latter part of 2018.
August 25, 2015 - The wood/fiber-based panels sector is enjoying improved commercial and consumer end-use demand levels on a sub-regional scale, based on recovering organic growth following the recession.
July 30, 2015 - Norbord Inc. recently reported adjusted EBITDA of $18 million in the second quarter of 2015 compared to $14 million in the first quarter of 2015 and $46 million in the second quarter of 2014. The year-over-year change is primarily due to lower North American oriented strand board (OSB) prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $11 million in the quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter and compared to $37 million in the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $10 million in the quarter versus $7 million in the prior quarter and $12 million in the same quarter last year. “The poor North American OSB demand/capacity ratio continued to impact OSB prices in the second quarter,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's president and CEO. “We curtailed production at several mills in response to the slower than expected rebound in new home construction demand. However, the May and June US housing data was encouraging, we are starting to see a pick-up in export orders and our sales to home improvement and industrial customers continue to grow. All this supports our belief that the OSB market dynamic will gradually improve in the coming quarters. In the meantime, our manufacturing costs continue to decline as we focus on our controllables and benefit from lower resin prices and the weaker Canadian dollar. "In Europe, our financial results are back on track, returning to their trend of generating double-digit quarterly EBITDA. Improving sales volumes in our key markets, particularly the UK, are offsetting the impact of lower OSB prices and the weaker Euro. "Finally, we remain focused on our integration efforts following the completion of our merger with Ainsworth four months ago. Of our $45 million annualized synergies target, we have already realized $4 million from early initiatives. Our sales and financial systems were recently integrated, and we remain on track to achieve half of our synergies target by year-end.” Norbord recorded an adjusted loss of $13 million or $0.15 per share (basic and diluted) in the second quarter of 2015 compared to an adjusted loss of $15 million or $0.18 per share (basic and diluted) in the prior quarter and adjusted earnings of $9 million or $0.11 per basic share ($0.10 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2014. Market Conditions In North America, June year-to-date U.S. housing starts were up 11 per cent versus the same period in 2014. Single family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by nine per cent. Permits were 16 per cent higher year-over-year and the seasonally-adjusted annualized rate stands at 1.34 million. The consensus forecast from U.S. housing economists is 1.1 million starts for 2015, which would be a 10 per cent improvement over last year. Despite improving U.S. new home construction activity, prices continue to be impacted by the poor OSB demand/capacity ratio. While North Central, South East and Western Canada benchmark OSB prices all increased earlier in the quarter, this upward momentum flattened in June. The North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $193 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis) for the quarter, unchanged from the previous quarter and compared to $219 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In the South East region, where approximately 35% of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $174 per Msf compared to $175 per Msf in the prior quarter and $199 per Msf in the same quarter last year. The Western Canada benchmark averaged $152 per Msf for the quarter, compared to $159 per Msf in the previous quarter and $206 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In Europe, panel demand continues to grow, reflecting improving housing markets and OSB substitution in the Company's core geographies, particularly the UK and Germany. However, OSB prices remain under pressure due to the weaker Euro and the redirection of eastern European supply toward the west as a result of the ongoing Ukraine conflict. Particleboard prices remained steady, while medium density fibreboard (MDF) prices were down slightly. As a result, second quarter average panel prices were down 3% from the prior quarter and 12% lower than the same quarter last year. Performance North American OSB shipments increased by 10 per cent, quarter-over-quarter, primarily due to increased productivity and more fiscal days in the second quarter. Second quarter shipments were in line with the same quarter last year as improved mill productivity offset production curtailments. Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at approximately 90% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec) compared to 85% in the prior quarter and 90 per cent in the same quarter last year. Mill productivity improved over both comparative quarters with capacity utilization impacted by the level of production curtailments. Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit decreased by five per cent compared to the prior quarter and seven per cent, versus the same quarter last year due to lower resin prices, improved productivity and lower raw material use. The year-over-year decline was also driven by the weaker Canadian dollar. In Europe, Norbord's shipments were three per cent higher versus the prior quarter and 11 per cent higher than the same quarter last year. Three of the four mills achieved quarterly production records and the European operations produced at approximately 100 per cent of stated capacity compared to 95 per cent in the prior quarter and 95% in the same quarter last year (based on restated capacity). As previously reported, at year-end 2014 the annual capacity at three of the four mills was restated. Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $21 million year-to-date primarily from improved productivity and lower raw material use. Capital investments totalled $28 million year-to-date compared to $53 million in 2014 due to the larger scope of capital projects undertaken last year. Norbord's 2015 planned capital expenditures remain targeted at $70 million and include further debottlenecking and cost reduction projects under the Company's multi-year capital reinvestment strategy. Operating working capital was $151 million at quarter-end compared to $146 million in the prior quarter and $158 million at the end of the same quarter last year with changes primarily driven by seasonality, timing and foreign exchange translation. At quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $326 million, consisting of $10 million in cash and $316 million in unused credit lines. At quarter-end, $50 million was drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. The company's tangible net worth was $738 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 50%. Both ratios remain well within bank covenants. As previously disclosed, following the Ainsworth merger Norbord amended its revolving bank lines to reset the tangible net worth covenant to $450 million and increased its accounts receivable securitization program commitment limit from $100 million to $125 million. Developments As previously announced, Norbord completed its merger with Ainsworth on March 31, 2015. Under the terms of the all-share transaction, Norbord acquired all of the outstanding common shares of Ainsworth and Ainsworth shareholders received 0.1321 of a share of Norbord for each Ainsworth share. Ainsworth became a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norbord. On April 16, 2015, Norbord completed the issuance of $315 million in senior secured notes due 2023 with an interest rate of 6.25 per cent. Debt issue costs of $6 million were incurred in connection with the issuance. The company used the proceeds to redeem prior to maturity the $315 million senior secured notes due 2017 that were assumed upon closing of the merger on March 31, 2015. As a result of the early redemption, a cash premium of $13 million was paid, a $1 million non-cash charge related to net unamortized debt issue costs was recorded and an $11 million non-cash charge to extinguish the related derivative financial instrument was recognized. Dividend Norbord's variable dividend policy targets the payment to shareholders of a portion of free cash flow based upon the Company's financial position, results of operations, cash flow, capital requirements and restrictions under the Company's revolving bank lines, as well as the market outlook for the Company's principal products and broader market and economic conditions, among other factors. Taking into account weaker than expected North American OSB prices to-date in 2015, to maintain flexibility in the Company's capital structure, as well as to fund growth and other attractive capital investment opportunities, the Board of Directors has adjusted the quarterly dividend level to CAD $0.10 per common share. Accordingly, the Board declared a quarterly dividend of CAD $0.10 per common share, payable on September 21, 2015 to shareholders of record on September 1, 2015. The Board retains the discretion to amend the Company's dividend policy in any manner and at any time as it may deem necessary or appropriate in the future. For these reasons, as well as others, the Board in its sole discretion can decide to increase, maintain, decrease, suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future. Additional information Norbord's Q2 2015 letter to shareholders, news release, management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Company's website at www.norbord.com. Shareholders are encouraged to read this material. Norbord Profile Norbord Inc. is a leading global manufacturer of wood-based panels and the world's largest producer of oriented strand board (OSB). In addition to OSB, Norbord manufactures particleboard, medium density fibreboard and related value-added products. Norbord has assets of approximately $1.8 billion and employs approximately 2,600 people at 17 plant locations in the United States, Canada and Europe. Norbord is a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol NBD. This news release contains forward-looking statements, as defined in applicable legislation, including statements related to our strategy, projects, plans, future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance. Often, but not always, words such as "expect," "believe," "forecast," "likely," "support," "target," "consider," "continue," "suggest," "intend," "should," "appear," "would," "will," "will not," "plan," "can," "may," and other expressions which are predictions of or indicate future events, trends or prospects and which do not relate to historical matters identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Norbord to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. Although Norbord believes it has a reasonable basis for making these forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking information. By its nature, forward-looking information involves numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, which contribute to the possibility that the predictions, forecasts and other forward-looking statements will not occur. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated or implied by forward-looking statements include: general economic conditions; risks inherent with product concentration; effects of competition and product pricing pressures; risks inherent with customer dependence; effects of variations in the price and availability of manufacturing inputs; risks inherent with a capital intensive industry; ability to realize synergies; and other risks and factors described from time to time in filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities. Except as required by applicable laws, Norbord does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, or to publicly update or revise the above list of factors affecting this information. See the "Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information" statement in the January 27, 2015 Annual Information Form and the cautionary statement contained in the "Forward-Looking Statements" section of the 2014 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated January 27, 2015 and Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015. Norbord defines Adjusted EBITDA as earnings (loss) before finance costs, income taxes, depreciation and other unusual or non-recurring items, and adjusted earnings (loss) as earnings (loss) determined in accordance with IFRS before unusual or non-recurring items and using a normalized income tax rate. Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings (loss) are non-International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) financial measures, do not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and are therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. See "Non-IFRS Financial Measures" in Norbord's Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015 for a quantitative reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and adjusted earnings (loss) to earnings (the most directly comparable IFRS measure). To Our Shareholders, This is our first quarter following the merger with Ainsworth and in spite of a slower than expected recovery in OSB demand in North America, it is an exciting time for our Company. Through the transaction with Ainsworth, we now have the opportunity to build a leading global wood products company, active on three continents, better positioned to serve our customers, and able to achieve higher returns for our shareholders. We expect to realize the full benefits of the merger over the next several quarters. Adjusted EBITDA for the quarter was $18 million, which is largely in line with the previous quarter. Low OSB prices have been offset by strong operational performance and cost reductions across all of our mills. Long time Norbord shareholders will notice that our North American numbers now include production at our mills in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario, as well as results from our Asian export business. With all the positive headlines coming out of the US housing market, you may be wondering why this did not flow through to our financial performance in the second quarter. The most recent numbers for June show that US housing starts have increased 11% year-to-date and are currently at a 1.17 million annual pace. But the APA industry production statistics show this did not translate into increased demand on North American OSB mills. We believe there were two main drivers: a pro-dealer network (which services the large home builders) that was destocking inventories and the stronger US dollar which has lowered overseas export volume. As a result, industry-wide operating capacity was more than sufficient to satisfy demand. While this has made the first half of this year disappointing, we see encouraging signs in the market. Asian export orders are starting to pick-up again, and this region remains an exciting area with real growth potential for Norbord. In the US, June housing permits were at a 1.34 million annual pace and we believe pro-dealer inventories are now at rock bottom levels. These suggest increased demand, and a gradual improvement of the industry demand/capacity ratio, which we would expect to lead to better OSB prices. Other positive signs include our year-to-date sales to North American home improvement and furniture customers that were up about 8%. Sales in these channels are an important aspect of our diversification strategy away from new home construction, giving us more consistent shipment volumes during periods of volatile homebuilding-related demand. Our European business performed well this quarter. The United Kingdom is our key market and we have realized double-digit year-over-year gains in sales there. Sales volume for all our panel products was up 5% versus the prior quarter and 12% versus the previous year. These higher volumes have helped offset the softer OSB price environment and put our European financial results back on trend. All of our mills continued to operate well, with increased uptime and speed. These productivity improvements combined with further progress on reducing raw material use resulted in $21 million in year-to-date Margin Improvement Program gains. As a result, cash manufacturing costs – a key operational metric – decreased at both our North American and European mills and are now 12% lower than 18 months ago. The key corporate priority this year is the integration of the former Ainsworth operations into the 'new Norbord'. Since the completion of the merger in April we have made great strides, including moving the two companies to single sales and financial reporting systems at the end of the quarter. We were able to complete this conversion in three months, without any disruption to the business, and our customers are telling us that the transition has been seamless from their perspective. As part of the integration effort we have achieved a number of early savings and have already captured $4 million in annualized synergies. Corporate synergies are already locked in and will be evident in our numbers starting in Q4. The majority of the remaining opportunities involve optimizing our product mix across a broader platform to lower freight and manufacturing costs and implementing a number of process and technology changes across our seventeen mills. We are on track to reach half of our $45 million annualized synergy target by year-end. In today's press release, you will see that the Board has adjusted the quarterly dividend level to CAD $0.10 per share. For the reasons set out above, we did not see the expected improvement in the North American OSB market during the seasonally stronger second quarter. This had us re-evaluate our outlook for the near term and take the prudent step of reducing our dividend payout. We remain committed to returning cash to shareholders, and will continue to evaluate the dividend level as the US housing recovery plays out. Looking further ahead, we remain convinced that OSB demand will improve. Our operational results, particularly our continued progress on costs, demonstrate that the fundamentals of our company are solid. Our financial results this quarter are not where we would like them to be. However, we are confident we will see the benefits of steadily improving market conditions in our results as we focus on continuing to execute on our business strategy and achieving the merger synergies. Thank you for your continued confidence and investment in Norbord. I look forward to reporting on our continued progress next quarter. Peter Wijnbergen President & CEO This letter includes forward-looking statements, as defined by applicable securities legislation including statements related to our strategy, projects, plans, future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance. Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "expect," "suggest," "support," "believe," "should," "potential," "likely," "continue," "forecast," "plan," "indicate," "consider," "future," or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions "may," "could," "must," "would," "might," or "will" be undertaken, occur or be achieved. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Norbord to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievement expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements. See the cautionary language in the Forward-Looking Statements section of the 2014 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated January 27, 2015 and Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015. Norbord defines Adjusted EBITDA as earnings (loss) before finance costs, income taxes, depreciation and other unusual or non-recurring items. Adjusted EBITDA is a non-International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) financial measure, does not have any standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS and is therefore unlikely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. See "Non-IFRS Financial Measures" in Norbord's Q2 2015 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 29, 2015 for a quantitative reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to earnings (the most directly comparable IFRS measure).
July 8, 2015 - Canada's wood products industry is benefiting from the ongoing recovery in the U.S. housing and a weaker Canadian dollar, according to The Conference Board of Canada's latest outlook for Canada's wood products industry. "The continued recovery in the U.S. housing market is supporting increased demand for Canadian wood products, leading to a 8.7 per cent increase in export volumes this year," said Michael Burt, Director, Industrial Economic Trends, The Conference Board of Canada. "However, while production should remain strong over the next five years, growth is set to eventually slow due to timber shortages in B.C. and softer growth in demand from China." Highlights Rising production and higher prices mean industry revenues are set to reach nearly $29 billion by 2016. Pushed higher by increases in production and rising material costs, industry costs are expected to rise by 8.7 per cent in 2015. The spread of the mountain pine beetle continues to pose a risk for Canada's lumber supply. Industry production is expected to grow by 6 per cent in 2015. This, combined with higher prices will support industry revenues, which are set to reach just under $29 billion by 2016. However, rising production and material costs are expected to drive strong cost growth in the industry. Overall, industry costs are set to rise by 8.7 per cent in 2015. The industry will need to find cost-cutting initiatives to help support its bottom line. With cost increases forecast to exceed revenue growth, pre-tax profits in the wood manufacturing industry are expected to fall 0.2 per cent to $1.4 billion in 2015. Various risks cloud the outlook over the medium term. While production will continue to increase, timber supply constraints (a result of the mountain pine beetle infestation) will continue to limit domestic production. These supply problem will plague lumber companies operating in British Columbia's interior and could lead to plant closures. In addition, the current Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber agreement is set to expire this October, which will likely affect Canadian softwood lumber producers' access to the U.S. market. SOURCE: Conference Board of Canada
June 4, 2015 - MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corporation, has further expanded its R-Series of robust, high performance magnetostrictive position sensors with a new device which has the capacity to deliver reliability and industry-leading accuracy in even the most demanding work environments. Utilizing the company’s proprietary Temposonics technology, the RT4 is a linear position measurement solution that features two independent sensor elements - each of which has a measuring length of 50 mm to 2540 mm (2” to 100”). Targeted at use in lumber mills, steel processing plants and power generation sites, this fully redundant position sensing product employs a Synchronous Serial Interface (SSI), which means that data transfer is less susceptible to the presence of electro-magnetic interference. In addition, the IP68-rated enclosure protects against the threat of liquid ingress. The RT4’s detached electronics can be mounted up to 600 mm (23.6”) away from the sensing environment allowing the electronics to be kept further from sources of potential harm. A temperature range that reaches up to 100˚C (212˚F) is supported for the sensor rod and interconnection cables. “Thanks to the combination of detached electronics and redundancy function, the RT4 sets itself apart from conventional position sensing hardware,” states Matt Hankinson, Technical Marketing Manager at MTS Sensors. ”This unit is optimized to function in extremely challenging application surroundings while maintaining high performance.” Through MTS Sensor’s ground-breaking Temposonics magnetostrictive sensor technology, precise, non-contact position measurement data can be acquired. Temposonics-based devices can deal with the exacting mechanical stresses found in modern industrial settings without being subject to wear and tear.
April 20, 2015 - MTS Sensors, a division of MTS Systems Corporation, has introduced a high performance magnetostrictive position sensor, using its innovative Temposonics technology. The ET sensor is very well suited to deployment in applications with high temperature environments. It can deliver up to 0.005mm resolution when used in combination with a suitable controller. Industrial facilities dedicated to pressboard production or the processing of steel/iron need instrumentation that provides maximum safety and reliability, regardless of difficult working conditions. The new ET product offering significantly extends the supported temperature range of the MTS E-Series, with the ability to precisely determine exact positions even at 105°C temperature levels. This small rod sensor can be integrated directly into a cylinder, with rod length options covering 50mm to 3000mm. It exhibits linearity deviation of less than 0.02 per cent (full scale). ET sensors have liquid ingress protection in accordance with IP68. Furthermore, ATEX certification for hazardous areas is available. These devices are equipped with a start/stop interface. They also have the capacity for sensor parameters to be automatically uploaded. A 316L stainless steel variant can be specified if needed. "The ET sensor is designed to be reliable and operationally effective in industry sectors where elevated temperatures are a major concern,” said Robert Luong, MTS Sensors’ industrial technical marketing manager. “The magnetostrictive technology it utilizes provides a wear-free sensing mechanism that has significant value in heavy industrial settings.” The proprietary Temposonics magnetostrictive sensing technology developed by MTS Sensors is designed to offer a non-contact method for accurately measuring position, which permits its implementation into the most demanding of application environments. Sensors based on this technology are highly resilient to shock, vibrations and extreme temperatures.
April 2, 2015 - Norbord Inc. and Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. announced the completion of their merger on April 1, 2015.
November 23, 2015 – Rick Ekstein, current president and CEO of Weston Forest, announced the appointment of Steve Rhone to the position of president, effective January 1, 2016. “Steve has been with Weston for 29 years, and has risen to a senior level in literally every part of the organization,” said Ekstein. “His vast experience in the company, including his current role as vice-president, finance and operations, makes him uniquely qualified to lead Weston Forest into the future.” Ekstein will remain CEO and an active advisor to the management at Weston, but will be spending more time pursuing his many other business, political and charitable interests. “I am very proud of my work at Weston, and I look forward to working with our great team as we continue to grow our business,” said Rhone. “I am honoured to be taking on this role. This is a company with an impressive history and I am committed to ensuring that it will remain strong in the years to come. Rick has spent a great deal of time mentoring our Executive Team and developing staff at all levels of our company, and I am very confident of our ability to continue to provide value to our customers, suppliers and staff.” About Weston Weston Forest is one of North America’s leading distributors and remanufacturers of softwood and hardwood lumber and specialty panel products. Weston’s different business units serve the industrial crating and packaging sectors, provide specialty products to the construction and infrastructure sectors, and manufacture and distribute a wide variety of products to lumber and building material dealers. In 2015 Weston was named One of Canada’s Best Managed Companies, and One of Canada’s Fastest Growing Companies.
November 6, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. announced financial results for its third quarter ended September 30, 2015. "Stella-Jones' solid performance in the third quarter was driven by our ability to respond to healthy demand in the railway tie and residential lumber categories. Our growing profitability reflects evolving market conditions in the untreated railway tie market and efficiency gains throughout our continental network. Moreover, we further expanded our reach through a strategic acquisition in Arkansas on September 1, 2015 and the conclusion of the Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. acquisition on October 1, 2015," said Brian McManus, president and CEO for Stella-Jones Inc. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Financial highlights Quarters ended Sept. 30 Nine months ended Sept. 30,(in millions of Canadian dollars, except per share data) 2015 2014 2015 2014 --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sales 433.1 357.3 1,201.8 959.6 Operating income 62.9 45.5 171.8 121.8 Net income for the period 39.3 29.5 108.4 80.9 Per share - basic ($) 0.57 0.43 1.57 1.18 Per share - diluted ($) 0.57 0.43 1.57 1.17 Weighted average shares outstanding (basic, in '000s) 69,025 68,829 68,989 68,780 ---------------------------------------------------------------------------- Third quarter results Sales reached $433.1 million, up 21.2 per cent from $357.3 million a year ago. The conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, had a positive impact of $57.2 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales when compared with last year. Excluding this factor, sales increased approximately $18.6 million, or 5.2 per cent. Railway tie sales amounted to $200.6 million, up 34.8 per cent from $148.8 million last year. Excluding the foreign currency conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 14.7 per cent as a result of selling price adjustments and healthy industry demand. Sales of utility poles reached $142.3 million, representing an increase of 11.6 per cent over sales of $127.6 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales decreased approximately 1.5 per cent reflecting lower sales of transmission poles due to a decrease in demand for special projects as a result of the weakness in the oil and gas as well as mining industries, partially offset by a steady rise in sales of distribution poles stemming from regular maintenance projects. Sales of residential lumber totalled $53.2 million, up from $43.5 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a healthier economy in certain sectors, as well as in Western Canada, reflecting the Company's increasing reach in British Columbia. Industrial product sales were $28.4 million, compared with $29.7 million a year ago, mainly due to lower sales of laminated poles, as demand for this product is mainly project driven. Non-pole-quality log sales were $8.5 million, versus $7.7 million last year, mainly due to the timing of timber harvesting. Gross profit reached $87.5 million, or 20.2 per cent of sales, up from $62.4 million, or 17.5 per cent of sales, last year. The increase in absolute dollars essentially stems from higher business activity and the effect of currency translation. As a percentage of sales, gross profit increased mainly as a result of adjusted pricing for railway ties and greater efficiencies throughout the Company's network. As a result of higher gross profit, operating income increased 38.4 per cent to $62.9 million, or 14.5 per cent of sales, versus $45.5 million, or 12.7 per cent of sales, last year. Net income for the third quarter of 2015 increased 33.2 per cent to $39.3 million or $0.57 per share, fully diluted, compared with $29.5 million or $0.43 per share, fully diluted, in the third quarter of 2014. Nine-month results For the nine-month period ended September 30, 2015, sales totalled $1,201.8 million, versus $959.6 million for the corresponding period a year earlier. The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. on May 22, 2014 contributed additional sales of $48.4 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by $124.7 million. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $69.1 million, or 7.2 per cent. Operating income reached $171.8 million, or 14.3 per cent of sales, up from $121.8 million, or 12.7 per cent of sales, a year ago. Net income amounted to $108.4 million, or $1.57 per share, fully diluted, compared with $80.9 million, or $1.17 per share, fully diluted, last year. Financial position As at September 30, 2015, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $536.9 million compared with $538.1 million three months earlier. This reduction reflects a solid cash flow generation, partially offset by the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at September 30, 2015, Stella-Jones' total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.38:1, versus 0.41:1 as at June 30, 2015. Acquisition of Treated Materials Co., Inc. During the third quarter, on September 1, 2015, Stella-Jones completed, through its wholly owned U.S. subsidiary, the acquisition of substantially all the operating assets employed in the wood treating facility of Treated Materials Co., Inc. located in Rison, Ark. This facility manufactures, sells and distributes treated utility poles and was acquired for synergistic reasons. Total cash outlay associated with the acquisition was approximately $5.4 million (US$4.1 million). Quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share On November 5, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per common share, payable on December 21, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on December 2, 2015. Outlook "Looking ahead to the remainder of 2015 and into 2016, railway tie demand is expected to remain healthy, driven by solid fundamental factors. With respect to utility poles, lower resource prices continue to create headwinds, mainly through a decrease in demand for special projects, while regular maintenance demand should hold. Over the mid-term, we believe that utility pole demand should improve, as an increasing number of poles are approaching the end of their service life and will have to be replaced. In addition, the Ram acquisition will allow Stella-Jones to leverage its reach in the residential lumber category. Our ability to methodically expand our presence in the wood treating industry by capturing accretive and synergistic opportunities underlines our commitment to create shareholder value," concluded Mr. McManus. Conference call Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on Friday, November 6, 2015, at 10:00 AM 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 recording of the meeting by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 56328938. This tape recording will be available on Friday, November 6, 2015 as of 1:00 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Friday, November 13, 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 third quarter ended September 30, 2015 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com
October 23, 2015 - Stella-Jones will hold a conference call on Nov. 6 to discuss its third quarter results: Open to: Analysts, investors and all interested parties Date: Friday, November 6, 2015 Time: 10:00 a.m. ESTCall: 647-788-4922 (For all Toronto and overseas participants) 1-877-223-4471 (For all other North American participants) Please dial in 15 minutes before the conference begins. If you are unable to call in at this time, you may access a tape recording of the meeting by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 56328938 on your phone. This recording will be available on Friday, Nov. 6, 2015 as of 1:00 p.m. until 11:59 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 13, 2015.
October 2, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. announced that it has completed its previously announced acquisition of the shares of Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc.
October 2, 2015 - A settlement was reached at the Ontario Labour Relations Board for the wrongfully terminated employees of Gingrich Woodcraft, the custom cabinetry-making factory in Devlin, Ont. that was closed by its owners in August when workers at the factory voted to unionize and join Unifor. The owners had claimed their religious beliefs precluded them from working with a union.
August 19, 2015 - Goodfellow Inc. has signed of a letter of intent to form a treated wood manufacturing company. Goodfellow Inc. and Groupe Lebel Cambium will be joint shareholders of the company, which will consist of seven wood treating plants to better serve markets in Ontario, Quebec and the Atlantic Provinces. Group Lebel Cambium's four plants located in Bancroft and Caledon, Ont. and Dégelis and St-Joseph, Que. will be combined with Goodfellow's three plants in Delson, Que., Elmsdale, N.S. and Deer Lake, Nfld. to form a new business unit focused on operational excellence. The company becomes one of the largest producers of treated wood in Eastern Canada with an unrivaled geographic coverage. In conjunction with the creation of the new company, Goodfellow Inc. receives the exclusive mandate to market and distribute the entire production of the company. This transaction will enhance the strengths of both partners to better serve the pressure treated wood customers throughout Eastern Canada. This transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter 2015 and is subject to customary closing conditions. About Goodfellow Inc. Goodfellow Inc. is one of eastern Canada's largest independent re-manufacturers and distributors of lumber and hardwood flooring products. Goodfellow shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol GDL. About Groupe Lebel Groupe Lebel Inc is an important privately-owned Company operating sawmills and value-added wood products fabrication. Groupe Lebel's plants are mainly located in Eastern Quebec, in Dégelis, Squatec, Price ant St-Just de Bretenières. www.groupelebel.com. For more details, please go to www.goodfellowinc.com and www.groupelebel.com.
August 18, 2015 - Just days after the majority of the workers at Gingrich Woodcraft Inc. voted in favour of joining Unifor, the company shut its doors and let go staff, according to a recent article in the Fort Frances Times. “It is almost inconceivable that in a country like Canada in 2015, we are dealing with an employer that is willing to take the position that the Constitution and Ontario labour laws somehow do not apply to employees of Mennonite-operated businesses in [Rainy River District],” Unifor national representative Stephen Boon told the Times. To read the full article, click here.
August 12, 2015 - About two dozen workers at Gingrich Woodcraft near Fort Frances voted 69% in favour of joining Unifor today. This group of wood workers specializes in the production of custom cabinets and furniture. “We are extremely pleased to welcome these new members to Unifor and we look forward to sitting down with them in the coming weeks to prepare for negotiations on a new first contract,” said Stephen Boon, national representative for Unifor. “Unifor continues to expand across the Kenora and Rainy River Districts gaining back over 400 new members this year through several successful organizing drives and the re-start of sawmills in Kenora and Ear Falls.” Unifor is the largest private sector union in Canada and represents over 305,000 members in 20 economic sectors.
August 10, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. announced its financial results for its second quarter ended June 30, 2015. “Stella-Jones produced solid operating results in the second quarter driven by healthy demand in its core markets and a wider reach in the residential lumber category,” said Brian McManus, president and CEO. “Margins benefited from further selling price adjustments in response to evolving market conditions in the untreated railway tie market and from greater network efficiency. Finally, our significant operating cash flow was mainly invested in working capital to support expected growth.” Second quarter results Sales reached $428.1 million, up 24.2 per cent from $344.8 million a year ago. The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. (Boatright) on May 22, 2014 generated additional sales of $27.3 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by about $38.1 million when compared with last year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $17.9 million, or 5.2 per cent. Railway tie sales amounted to $194.8 million, up 37.7 per cent from $141.5 million last year. Excluding sales from Boatright and the foreign currency conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 6.8 per cent, primarily as a result of adjusted selling prices. Sales of utility poles reached $136.7 million, an increase of 12.4 per cent compared with $121.6 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales increased 2.2 per cent, as a steady rise in sales of distribution poles stemming from regular maintenance projects was partially offset by lower sales of transmission poles due to a decrease in demand for special projects as a result of the weakness in the oil and gas as well as mining industries. Sales of residential lumber totalled $60.9 million, up from $49.4 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a healthy economy as well as in Western Canada, mostly as a result of the Company's increasing reach into British Columbia. Industrial product sales were $25.4 million, compared with $25.1 million a year ago, mainly due to the additional contribution of the Boatright assets and the foreign currency conversion effect. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales were $10.4 million, versus $7.2 million last year, due to the timing of timber harvesting. Gross profit reached $84.1 million, or 19.7 per cent of sales, up from $60.1 million, or 17.4 per cent of sales, last year. The increase in absolute dollars essentially stems from higher business activity, the addition of the Boatright assets and the effect of currency translation. As a percentage of sales, gross profit increased mainly as a result of adjusted pricing for railway ties and greater efficiencies throughout the Company's network. As a result of higher gross profit, operating income increased 46.9 per cent to $61.1 million, or 14.3 per cent of sales, versus $41.6 million, or 12.1 per cent of sales, last year. Net income for the second quarter of 2015 increased 35.1 per cent to $38.9 million or $0.56 per share, fully diluted, compared with $28.8 million or $0.42 per share, fully diluted, in the second quarter of 2014. Six-month results For the six-month period ended June 30, 2015, sales amounted to $768.8 million, versus $602.3 million for the corresponding period a year earlier. The Boatright facilities contributed additional sales of approximately $48.4 million, while the conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar versus the U.S. dollar had a positive impact of $67.5 million on the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $50.6 million, or 8.4 per cent. Operating income reached $108.8 million, or 14.2 per cent of sales, up from $76.4 million, or 12.7% of sales, a year ago. Net income totalled $69.0 million, or $1.00 per share, fully diluted, compared with $51.3 million, or $0.74 per share, fully diluted, last year. Financial position As at June 30, 2015, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $538.1 million compared with $517.2 million three months earlier. The increase essentially reflects higher working capital requirements and the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at June 30, 2015 Stella-Jones' total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.41:1, versus 0.40:1 as at March 31, 2015. Working capital requirements included the normal seasonal increase in accounts receivable as well as higher inventory in anticipation of higher sales going forward and the gradual rebuilding of inventory due to untreated railway tie availability returning to customary levels. Quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share On August 7, 2015, the board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per common share, payable on September 25, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 4, 2015. Outlook “Railway tie demand is expected to remain healthy for the remainder of 2015. With untreated tie availability returning to more appropriate levels, our strong procurement network should continue to provide consistent supply to support inventory rebuilding. In the utility pole market, regular maintenance demand should continue to grow at a steady pace, but lower resource prices have resulted in decreased demand for special projects. Over the mid-term, utility pole demand should improve, as an increasing number of poles are approaching the end of their service life and will need to be replaced. Stella-Jones remains focused on creating shareholder value by optimizing network efficiency and capturing accretive opportunities to further expand its reach in the wood treating industry,” concluded Mr. McManus. Conference call Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on August 7, 2015, at 3:00 p.m., EST. Interested parties can join the call by dialing 647-788-4922 (Toronto or overseas) or 1-877-223-4471 (elsewhere in North America). Parties unable to call in at this time may access a tape recording of the meeting by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 80946196. This tape recording will be available on Friday, August 7, 2015 as of 6:00 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 p.m. EST on Friday, August 14, 2015. Non-IFRS financial measures Operating income and cash flow from operating activities before changes in non-cash working capital components and interest and income tax paid are financial measures not prescribed by IFRS and are not likely to be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers. Management considers these non-IFRS measures to be useful information to assist knowledgeable investors regarding the Company's financial condition and results of operations as they provide additional measures of its performance. About Stella-Jones Stella-Jones Inc. is a leading producer and marketer of pressure treated wood products. The company supplies North America's railroad operators with railway ties and timbers, and the continent's electrical utilities and telecommunication companies with utility poles. Stella-Jones also provides residential lumber to retailers and wholesalers for outdoor applications, as well as industrial products for construction and marine applications. The company's common shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. Except for historical information provided herein, this press release may contain information and statements of a forward-looking nature concerning the future performance of the company. These statements are based on suppositions and uncertainties as well as on management's best possible evaluation of future events. Such factors may include, without excluding other considerations, fluctuations in quarterly results, evolution in customer demand for the company's products and services, the impact of price pressures exerted by competitors, the ability of the company to raise the capital required for acquisitions, and general market trends or economic changes. As a result, readers are advised that actual results may differ from expected results. Note to readers: Condensed interim unaudited consolidated financial statements for the second quarter ended June 30, 2015 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com
July 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.
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