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Hampton Lumber to purchase Conifex’s Fort St. James mill


June 25, 2019
By Conifex

Conifex Timber Inc. announced today that it has entered into a definitive purchase agreement with Hampton Lumber for the sale of its Fort St. James sawmill and associated forest license. The purchase price is approximately $39 million plus the market value of finished lumber and log inventory at closing.

Ken Shields, Conifex’s Chair and CEO, stated: “We have known for some time that lumber industry rationalization is inevitable because too little sawlog supply is available to maintain the existing manufacturing base in the Interior region of B.C. The decision we have taken to sell the mill was extremely difficult; however, we are encouraged by Hampton’s plans for the site. We believe this transaction supports the province’s objectives for industry rationalization that is mindful of the impacts on people, communities and First Nations. We sincerely thank our employees, contractors, and other stakeholders for their hard work and contribution to the site over the past decade.”

Hampton Lumber operates nine sawmills in Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, including two in the Burns Lake area of British Columbia. Hampton Lumber CEO Steve Zika commented that “while economic conditions are extremely challenging right now for the lumber industry in British Columbia, we believe the long-term outlook for Canadian lumber is promising. We intend to build a new sawmill in Fort St. James and look forward to building relationships with local First Nations and other community partners similar to a successful joint venture we have with the Burns Lake Native Development Corporation in the Burns Lake area.”

Due to continued uncertain market conditions, Conifex does not expect to resume normal operations at the Fort St. James site prior to closing the transaction.

Closing is subject to certain regulatory approvals, including approval of the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations, and Rural Development and other customary closing conditions. The proceeds of the transaction will be primarily used to retire debt and to provide additional liquidity so Conifex can better optimize performance and value at its other locations.