West Fraser announces Q4 results

Marketwired/West Fraser
February 12, 2016
By Marketwired/West Fraser
February 12, 2016 - West Fraser reported a loss $15 million or $(0.18) basic earnings per share on sales of $1,013 million in the fourth quarter of 2015 and earnings of $104 million or $1.25 basic earnings per share on sales of $4,100 million for 2015. These results compare with previous periods as shown in the table below.

Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted earnings and Adjusted basic EPS as described in this News Release reflect the adjustments described in the tables referred to in the section titled "Non-IFRS Measures" on page 22 of our 2015 Management's Discussion & Analysis.

     
($millions except earnings per 2015 2014
share ("EPS")) Q4   Q3 YTD Q4 YTD
Sales 1,013   1,044 4,100 964 3,856
Adjusted EBITDA1 90   82 417 157 621
Operating earnings 18   88 249 83 406
Earnings (15 ) 56 104 43 259
Basic EPS ($) (0.18 ) 0.67 1.25 0.51 3.06
Adjusted earnings1 30   36 176 84 327
Adjusted basic EPS ($)1 0.38   0.42 2.12 1.00 3.86

1. In this News Release, reference is made to Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted earnings and Adjusted basic EPS (collectively "these measures"). We believe that, in addition to earnings, these measures are useful performance indicators. None of these measures is a generally accepted earnings measure under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") and none has a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. Investors are cautioned that none of these measures should be considered as an alternative to earnings, EPS or cash flow, as determined in accordance with IFRS. As there is no standardized method of calculating any of these measures, our method of calculating each of them may differ from the methods used by other entities and, accordingly, our use of any of these measures may not be directly comparable to similarly titled measures used by other entities. Refer to the tables in the section titled "Non-IFRS Measures" on page 22 of our 2015 Management's Discussion & Analysis for details of these adjustments.

Operational results
In the quarter our lumber operations generated operating earnings of $17 million (Q3-15 -- operating loss of $9 million) and Adjusted EBITDA of $55 million (Q3-15 -- $26 million). An increase in U.S. SYP and low-grade SPF lumber prices and a slightly weaker Canadian dollar were major factors in the improvement on a quarter to quarter basis. The benefit of increased shipments from our Canadian mills was offset by a decrease in production and shipments from our U.S. sawmills.

Our panels segment, which includes plywood, LVL and MDF, generated operating earnings in the quarter of $16 million (Q3-15 -- $26 million) and Adjusted EBITDA of $19 million (Q3-15 -- $29 million). Plywood and MDF markets experienced a seasonal decline and prices decreased accordingly.

Our pulp & paper segment generated operating earnings of $8 million (Q3-15 -- $14 million) and Adjusted EBITDA of $17 million (Q3-15 -- $25 million). Production and shipments from our pulp mills were similar to the previous quarter but key prices declined. Newsprint shipments improved but prices continued their secular decline.

Outlook
"We weathered a sharp deterioration in lumber prices in 2015 which was the result of a number of external factors such as a delayed building season due to poor weather in the first quarter of 2015 and a significant slowdown in demand from China during the third quarter. We expect U.S. housing to continue to improve in 2016 and currently are experiencing strong demand for lumber from our customers in China. We are continuing to focus on those factors that are within our control: all the elements of operational excellence. On that front, I am encouraged that we are improving many aspects of our performance and that throughout our Company our people are focused on taking advantage of all the opportunities that are presented to us," said Ted Seraphim, our president and CEO.

We are also announcing that on April 19, 2016 Hank Ketcham will relinquish the title of executive chairman and will become our non-executive chairman of the board. This step completes the transition of our senior executive position to Ted Seraphim, our president and CEO. Hank Ketcham has been the senior member of our executive team since his appointment as president and CEO in 1985. Ted Seraphim commented: "I know that Hank will continue to play a key role at West Fraser and I look forward to receiving his counsel and advice in the future."

Annual Financial Statements and Management's Discussion & Analysis (MD&A)
The Company's consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2015 and related MD&A is available on the Company's website: www.westfraser.com and on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile.

Dividend declared
The Board of Directors of the Company has declared a dividend of $0.07 per share on the Common shares and the Class B Common shares in the capital of the Company, payable on April 4, 2016 to shareholders of record on March 21, 2016.
Dividends are designated to be eligible dividends pursuant to subsection 89(14) of the Income Tax Act (Canada) and any applicable provincial legislation pertaining to eligible dividends.

The company
West Fraser is a diversified wood products company producing lumber, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp, newsprint, wood chips and energy with facilities in western Canada and the southern United States.

Forward-looking statements
This report contains historical information, descriptions of current circumstances and statements about potential future developments. The latter, which are forward-looking statements and are included under the heading "Outlook", are presented to provide reasonable guidance to the reader but their accuracy depends on a number of assumptions and is subject to various risks and uncertainties. Actual outcomes and results will depend on a number of factors that could affect the ability of the Company to execute its business plans, including those matters described in the 2015 annual Management's Discussion & Analysis under "Risks and Uncertainties", and may differ materially from those anticipated or projected. Accordingly, readers should exercise caution in relying upon forward-looking statements and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise them to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by applicable securities laws.

Source: West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.

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