Wood Business

Features Mills Sawmilling
Big lumber producers expand

Apr. 28, 2014, Vancouver - The latest WOOD MARKETS annual survey of the "Billion Board Foot Club" that features the largest global softwood lumber producers shows that West Fraser Timber has retained its title of being the world's largest softwood lumber producer in 2013 with 5.15 billion board feet (bf; or 8.3 million m3 net). Canfor was in second place (4.75 billion bf) and narrowed the gap on West Fraser. Weyerhaeuser's softwood lumber operations in the U.S. and Canada put the company solidly in third place (over 4.0 billion bf). Rounding out the Top 5 was Stora Enso Timber of Finland and Sierra-Pacific Industries of the USA.

These and other highlights were released in the April issue of WOOD Markets Monthly International Report that was researched by the consultants at International WOOD MARKETS Group, Vancouver B.C. The Billion Board Foot Club is based on companies with reported lumber production of more than one billion board feet, nominal basis (or more than about 2.1–2.3 million m3, net basis, for mills outside of North America). This year's list featured the same twelve companies that made the list in 2012 and included:

• Nine North American companies (five in Canada and four in the U.S.);

• One European company;

• One South American company; and

• One firm headquartered in Russia.

"With U.S. housing starts up for the fourth consecutive year, most North American companies increased output, although in different ways: some restarted curtailed mills or added shifts, while other benefited from mill capex programs or outright acquisitions," explained Russell Taylor, WOOD MARKETS' President.

As a result, all but two companies in the Billion Board Foot Club posted production gains in 2013 versus 2012. The average increase was 7% for the twelve companies in the club, with two achieving gains of over 25% (including acquisitions).

The total output of these companies was 28.95 billion bf, or 49.2 million m3 net, an increase of 2.0 billion bf from 2012's 26.96 billion bf (+7%). This compared to global production growth of only 2.0% (+3.1 billion bf) during the same period. The global market share of the top twelve has grown from 15% in 2011 to 16% in 2012 and to 17% in 2013. The collective 168 sawmills owned by these dozen firms averaged about 172 million bf nominal per mill (some 300,000 m3 net) of lumber produced.

"Sawmill acquisitions were rampant last year, and this has continued into 2014 as the large companies continue to get bigger," said Peter Butzelaar, Vice-President and a key architect of the survey. "Versus 2012, the largest increase in softwood lumber output by company was recorded by Georgia-Pacific (+430 million bf), followed by Canfor (+411 million bf), Interfor (+365 million bf) and Weyerhaeuser (+250 million bf), where the first three companies all increased output mainly as a result of acquisitions."

Representatives from all of the Billion Board Foot Club will be either speaking or will be attending WOOD MARKETS' 4th Global Softwood Log & Lumber Conference in Vancouver BC on May 7.

The complete Billion Board Foot Club List and further analysis are available to subscribers of WOOD Markets Monthly International Report.

April 29, 2014  By wood markets

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