Wood Business

Industry News Mills Sawmilling
Interfor to sell Acorn specialty sawmill to San Group


April 13, 2022
By Interfor/San Group

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Photo: Annex Business Media. Interfor’s Acorn sawmill in Delta

Interfor Corporation announced today that it has reached an agreement to sell its Acorn specialty sawmill located near Vancouver, British Columbia to an affiliate of San Industries Ltd. (the San Group).

The mill is located on an approximately 30-acre leased site on the Fraser River in Delta, B.C. The mill was built in 1963 and was acquired by Interfor in 2001 from Primex Forest Products. The mill specializes in producing lumber squares for the traditional Japanese home market and most of the production is exported to Asia. The mill has a two-shift rated capacity of approximately 140 million board feet per year, but has been operating on a one-shift basis for many years. The mill produced 56 million board feet of lumber in 2021, representing approximately two per cent of Interfor’s total company-wide production in 2021.

San Group is a privately held, B.C. based forest products company, with primary and value-added lumber manufacturing operations in Port Alberni and Langley, B.C. The San Group intends to continue operating the mill.

With the acquisition of the mill, The San Group’s production capacity will exceed 500 million board feet, making the company the second largest sawmilling business on the B.C. Coast.

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“Acorn’s complementary sawmilling technology, customer base and geographic footprint make it an excellent fit with our value-added business model, and the transaction strengthens our global wood products export base,” said San Group’s co-owner Kamal Sanghera. “We expect Acorn Forest Products Ltd. to be an industry leader in wood products manufacturing, enhancing our position of producing some of the world’s most carbon-conscious environmentally friendly wood products, and to be well-positioned for the transition towards higher levels of autonomy. The acquisition is also consistent with our go-forward strategy to diversify and accelerate investment in high-growth areas.”

Suki Sanghera, San Group’s co-owner, said: “This is a compelling transaction for all stakeholders. It will deliver significant and immediate value to San Group by connecting Acorn’s production capacity with our current facilities, and to provide current and new employees an opportunity to join a company whose philosophy is entered on increasing the longevity of our forests through value-added manufacturing. We have invested a great deal into the B.C. forestry sector, including the construction of a new mill and world leading 300,000 sq. ft. value-added plant in Port Alberni, and Acorn will seamlessly integrate within our ecosystem creating at scale one of Canada’s most efficient and largest value-added wood products companies.

“We have a great deal of respect for Interfor’s team and their culture of innovation and creativity. One of our first major deals in the lumber industry was with Mr. Sauder in the early 1990’s to acquire a remanufacturing plant. We are humbled to now have the opportunity to purchase Acorn, one of the B.C. Coastal region’s premier sawmilling facilities. We will strive to live up to his family’s name and their contribution to the B.C. forest industry by emulating his entrepreneurial spirit which allowed Interfor to become one of the world’s largest and environmentally conscious forestry companies. We are excited to welcome Acorn’s employees into our global San Group family and are confident that together we will be able to achieve improved results and move product faster through to the value-added wood products market.”

The completion of the transaction is subject to customary conditions and is expected to close in the second quarter of 2022.