Jan. 26, 2017 – Canadian forest products company Western Forest Products (WFP) is permanently closing its South Vancouver Island remanufacturing plant.

The announcement came on Wednesday and follows WFP’s plan to strengthen the company through recapitalization and consolidation.

WFP’s goal is to become a global competitor, according to a statement.

The statement also mentions that all employees of the consolidated South Vancouver Island plant have either received compensation or been located to other facilities within WFP.

WFP also consolidated its sawmills in Nanaimo, B.C. in October 2014. President and CEO Don Demens said that the decision was also part of the strategy to make WFP more competitive worldwide.

“This strategy involves the evaluation of new market programs and operating configurations designed to improve our operating results," Demens said.

According to the company, “Since 2011, Western has invested over $260 million in recapitalizing its coastal operations, including more than $94 million in strategic investments towards upgrading technology, with a focus on reducing costs while maintaining product flexibility.”
Jan. 16, 2017 - Stella-Jones Inc. has provided preliminary unaudited results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2016. These preliminary results are based on information available to the company as of Jan. 13, 2017 and are subject to revision upon finalizing the audit of Stella-Jones' annual consolidated financial statements. Financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2016 will be reported on March 17, 2017.

Stella-Jones is providing this update to inform of lower year-over-year financial results in the fourth quarter. For this period, the company is currently anticipating sales in the range of $340.0-$342.0 million, compared with $357.5 million last year, while operating income is expected to be between $27.0 and $29.0 million, versus $48.3 million a year ago.

2016 will mark the sixteenth consecutive year of sales and net income growth for Stella-Jones. For the fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2016, consolidated sales are expected to show a year-over-year increase of nearly 18.0 per cent, reaching close to $1.84 billion, while operating income should be between $232.0 and $234.0 million, up from $220.1 million last year.

The year-over-year decrease in sales and profitability in the fourth quarter of 2016 was primarily driven by lower railway tie demand at the end of the year, as anticipated in management's discussion and analysis for the third quarter of 2016. For the current fiscal year, total sales and operating margins are expected to remain comparable to 2016, assuming stable currencies. 
Jan. 3, 2017 - Growing interest from Asia in resort-style living that is market by specialty wood products is opening doors for B.C.'s remanufacturers.
Oct. 5, 2016 - Damage from a fire that burned through DAG-Wood Products in Osler, Sask., on the weekend is estimated at $1 million. 
Sept. 14, 2016 - The federal government is investing close to $4.5 million in an East Coast startup working to commercialize a technology that uses rejected wood fibers to make high-strength, lightweight composite building materials, packaging and furniture.

Corruven Canada Inc. plans to use the investments, as well as about $2 million in private funds, to install its first industrial-scale corrugating line and build a market for its products in the U.S. and Canada. The company’s technology allows it to process and press veneer rejects into usable products such as packaging and bed platforms. The company says its materials are approximately 75 per cent lighter and six-time strong than traditional building materials.

Supporting the Canadian forestry industry, the Canadian government’s Investments in Forest Industry Transformation Program provided Corruven $2.5 million in funding for the project, while the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency contributed the remaining $2 million in government funding.

The startup expects the corrugating line and associated research will create 10 new jobs at its base in Saint-Basile, N.B., as well as an additional 14 if the project proves successful.

Aug. 26, 2016 - Brink Forest Products Ltd. has entered into an agreement with the BID Group of Companies to purchase Vanderhoof Specialty Wood Products Ltd. 

Aug. 11, 2016 - With the recent closing of manufacturing plants in the North Bay, Ont., area, one can assume that most people living in the region were relieved to witness the reopening of Columbia Forest Product’s hardwood veneer plant in Rutherglen, Ont. The plant was reopened this past April with USD$1.5 million invested into the facility.

Aug. 10, 2016 - Acquisitions and high demand for residential lumber and railway ties accounts for Stella-Jones' strong second quarter sales results, up 31.5 per cent from one year ago. The company's sales reached $563.1 million, up from $428.1 million in the second quarter last year.

June 9, 2016 – Stella-Jones Inc. announced that its wholly-owned subsidiary, McFarland Cascade Holdings, Inc., has completed the acquisition of the equity interests of 440 Investments, LLC, the parent company of Kisatchie Treating, LLC, Kisatchie Pole & Piling, LLC, Kisatchie Trucking, LLC and Kisatchie Midnight Express, LLC (collectively, “Kisatchie”). 

Kisatchie produces treated poles, pilings and timbers, with two wood treating facilities in Noble and Pineville, La. Kisatchie’s consolidated sales for the year ended December 31, 2015 reached approximately US$51.8 million. The purchase price was US$42.5 million, including US$10.0 million of working capital, and is subject to post-closing adjustments. Stella-Jones has financed the transaction through a combination of debt financing and a vendor note. 

“The acquisition of Kisatchie allows Stella-Jones to further enhance its offerings in the North American wood treating industry. It is also consistent with our objective of steadily increasing shareholder value through selective acquisitions. We expect this transaction to yield synergies and to be immediately accretive to earnings, as we continue to optimize the overall efficiency of our continental network,” said Brian McManus, president and CEO of StellaJones. 

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 manufactures and distributes residential lumber and accessories to retailers 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.
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. 

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Financial highlights     Quarters ended Sept. 30     Nine months ended  Sept. 30,
(in millions of Canadian dollars, except per share data)       

                                                  2015       2014       2015       2014
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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

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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. EST

Call:
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.
June 19, 2015 – Stella-Jones Inc. announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to purchase the shares of Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. The signature of a non-binding letter of intent in respect of the proposed acquisition was reported by Stella-Jones on April 29, 2015.
May 4, 2015 - Norbord Inc. reported Adjusted EBITDA of $10 million in the first quarter of 2015 compared to $15 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 and $27 million in the first quarter of 2014. The change versus both comparative periods is primarily due to lower North American benchmark oriented strand board (OSB) prices. North American operations generated Adjusted EBITDA of $6 million in the quarter, unchanged from the prior quarter and compared to $17 million in the same quarter last year. European operations delivered Adjusted EBITDA of $7 million in the quarter versus $11 million in the prior quarter and $13 million in the same quarter last year.

"Our first quarter results reflect continued weak North American OSB prices and another severe winter that held back homebuilding activity and OSB demand," said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord's president and CEO. "Still, our operations continued to deliver manufacturing cost reductions and margin improvement program gains, even as we curtailed production at several mills in response to lower-than-expected demand. In spite of the slower start to the year, U.S. housing starts are forecasted to reach the 1.15 million range for 2015, supporting my belief that OSB demand will continue to increase as the year unfolds. The impact of lower oil prices on resin and the benefit of a weaker Canadian dollar for our now larger portfolio of Canadian mills will provide a cost advantage in the quarters ahead.
"In Europe, our financial results were impacted by continued pressure on OSB prices and the weaker Euro. However, the lower prices are accelerating substitution against plywood and we continue to increase our sales volumes in our key markets such as the UK where housing starts and home sales are improving.
"Finally, we are pleased to have completed the merger with Ainsworth, making Norbord a leading global wood products company active on three continents. Our integration efforts are well underway and we are implementing our plan to realize the annual synergies target of $45 million."

Norbord recorded a loss of $6 million or $0.11 per share (basic and diluted) in the first quarter of 2015 compared to earnings of $3 million or$0.06 per share (basic and diluted) in the prior quarter and earnings of $7 million or $0.13 per share (basic and diluted) in the first quarter of 2014. Reported earnings in the current and comparative quarters included the following one-time items:


$ millions                                         Q1-2015  Q4-2014  Q1-2014

Earnings before one-time items             (2)             1             7

Costs related to Ainsworth merger         (4)            (5)            -

Non-recurring income tax recoveries       -               7             -

Earnings, as reported                            (6)            3             7

Market conditions
In North America, March year-to-date U.S. housing starts were up four per cent versus the same period in 2014. Permits were eight per cent higher year-over-year. Single family starts, which use approximately three times more OSB than multi-family, increased by five per cent. The consensus forecast from U.S. housing economists stands at 1.15 million starts for 2015, which would be a 14 per cent improvement over last year.

New home construction activity was held back during the quarter by the extreme cold weather conditions experienced across much of the continent this winter, driving softer OSB demand. As a result, benchmark OSB prices remained under pressure in the first quarter. The North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $193 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7/16-inch basis) for the quarter compared to $216 per Msf in the previous quarter and $219 per Msf in the same quarter last year. In the South East region, where more than half of Norbord's North American OSB capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $175 per Msf compared to $181 per Msf in the prior quarter and $193 per Msf in the same quarter last year.

In Europe, panel markets continued to experience demand growth in the first quarter, reflecting improving housing markets and continued OSB substitution in the Company's core geographies, particularly the UK andGermany. However, OSB prices remain under pressure and were down 9% quarter-over-quarter and 18 per cent year-over-year as eastern European supply was redirected toward the west due to the ongoing conflict in the Ukraineand the collapse of the Russian ruble. Prices for the Company's other products remained steady. As a result, first quarter average panel prices were down four per cent from the prior quarter and nine per cent lower than the same quarter last year.

Performance
North American OSB shipments decreased by eight per cent quarter-over-quarter, primarily due to fewer fiscal days versus the prior quarter. First quarter shipments were in line with the same quarter last year as improved mill productivity offset a reduced production schedule.

Norbord's operating North American OSB mills produced at approximately 100% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d'Or, Quebec) compared to 95% in the prior quarter and 100% in the same quarter last year. Year-over-year, capacity utilization was unchanged as improved productivity was offset by additional production curtailments.

Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit (before mill profit share) decreased by three per cent compared to the prior quarter. Lower resin prices and fewer maintenance shutdown days were partially offset by the impact of fewer fiscal days in the quarter. Unit costs decreased by four per cent versus the same quarter last year as increased productivity, lower resin prices and improved raw material usages more than offset the impact of a reduced production schedule.

In Europe, Norbord's shipments were six per cent higher versus the prior quarter and in line with the same quarter last year. The European mills produced at approximately 95 per cent of stated capacity in the quarter compared to 105 per cent in the prior quarter and 110 per cent in the same quarter last year. Capacity utilization declined compared to both comparative quarters primarily due to the previously reported restatement of the 2015 annual capacity at three of the four mills by an aggregate increase of 170 MMsf (3⁄8-inch basis) to reflect recent capital investments and improved efficiency.

Norbord's mills delivered Margin Improvement Program (MIP) gains of $7 million in the quarter from improved productivity and raw material use.

Capital investments totalled $10 million in the first quarter and are currently targeted at $70 million for the full year 2015 for the combined company. This year's planned capital expenditures include further debottlenecking and cost reduction projects under the Company's multi-year capital reinvestment strategy.

Operating working capital was $100 million at quarter-end compared to $65 million at year-end and $93 million at the end of the same quarter last year. Working capital increased quarter-over-quarter for the usual seasonal reasons, including log inventory builds in North America.

At quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $298 million, consisting of $4 million in cash and $294 million in unused credit lines. At quarter-end, $45 million was drawn under the accounts receivable securitization program. The Company's tangible net worth was $388 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 53 per cent. Both ratios remain well within bank covenants.

Dividend
The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of CAD $0.25 per common share, payable on June 21, 2015 to shareholders of record on June 1, 2015.

The amount of future dividends under the company's dividend policy, and the declaration and payment thereof, will be based upon the company's financial position, results of operations, cash flow, capital requirements and restrictions under the company's existing revolving bank lines and senior notes, as well as broader market and economic conditions, among other factors, and shall be in compliance with applicable law. 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, there can be no assurance that dividends in the future will be equal or similar to the amount described above or that the Board will not decide to suspend or discontinue the payment of cash dividends in the future.

Developments
On March 31, 2015, subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord completed its merger with Ainsworth Lumber Co. Ltd. (Ainsworth). 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. Consequently, 31.8 million Norbord common shares were issued to Ainsworth shareholders, bringing the combined company's total number of shares outstanding to 85.3 million. Ainsworth is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Norbord.

Subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord amended its $245 million in revolving bank lines to reset the tangible net worth covenant to $450 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger and extend the maturity date for $225 million of the total aggregate commitment to May 2018. The remaining $20 million commitment matures in May 2016. Norbord also increased its accounts receivable securitization program commitment limit from $100 million to $125 million to reflect the Ainsworth merger.

Annual meeting of shareholders
Norbord's annual meeting of shareholders will be held on Tuesday, May 12, 2015 at 10:00 a.m. A live webcast of the meeting will be available and can be accessed via www.norbord.com or www.newswire.ca.

Additional information
Norbord's Q1 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.

Since the Norbord-Ainsworth merger was completed subsequent to quarter-end, Ainsworth's Q1 2015 management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited interim financial statements and notes to the financial statements have also been filed under Ainsworth's profile on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Norbord website at www.norbord.com.

April 29, 2015 - Stella-Jones Inc. today announced financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2015.

"We are pleased with these results that show healthy demand in our core markets as well as the strong contribution of our recent acquisition. Furthermore, adjustments in our selling prices in response to higher input costs for untreated railway ties helped us to improve our gross profit margin when compared to recent quarters," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer. 

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Financial highlights  
(in millions of Canadian dollars, except per share data)                                                                                                        Quarters ended March 31, 2015        2014
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Sales                                                        340.7       257.5

Operating income                                       47.6        34.7

Net income for the period                            30.1        22.5

  Per share - basic ($)                                 0.44        0.33

  Per share - diluted ($)                               0.43        0.33

Weighted average shares outstanding 

(basic, in '000s)                                      68,953      68,737

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First quarter results
Sales reached $340.7 million, up 32.3 per cent from $257.5 million a year ago. The wood treating facilities acquired from Boatright Railroad Products, Inc. ("Boatright") on May 22, 2014 generated sales of $21.1 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 $29.4 million when compared with last year. Excluding these factors, sales increased approximately $32.7 million, or 12.7 per cent.

Railway tie sales amounted to $166.8 million, up 53.5 per cent from $108.6 million last year. Excluding sales from Boatright and the foreign currency conversion effect, railway tie sales rose approximately 21.7 per cent, primarily as a result of adjusted selling prices. 

Sales of utility poles reached $119.2 million, an increase of 10.9 per cent compared with $107.5 million last year. Factoring out the foreign currency conversion effect, sales increased 1.9 per cent, as a steady rise in sales of distribution poles stemming from regular maintenance projects, was partially offset by slightly lower sales of transmission poles due to the timing of orders for special projects. 

Sales of residential lumber totalled $28.4 million, up from $17.3 million last year, reflecting higher sales in the United States due to a strong economy as well as in Western Canada where the Company increased its market reach in British Columbia. Industrial product sales increased to $19.9 million, compared with $15.8 million a year ago, mainly due to the contribution of the Boatright assets and the foreign currency conversion effect. Finally, non-pole-quality log sales were $6.4 million, versus $8.3 million last year, due to the timing of timber harvesting. 

Gross profit reached $66.4 million, or 19.5 per cent of sales, up from $50.3 million, or 19.5% 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 was stable year-over-year, as adjusted pricing for railway has matched the 2014 cost increases of untreated railway ties. As a result of higher gross profit, operating income increased 37.2 per cent to $47.6 million, or 14.0 per cent of sales, versus $34.7 million, or 13.5 per cent of sales, last year. 

Net income for the first quarter of 2015 increased 33.7 per cent to $30.1 million or $0.43 per share, fully diluted, compared with $22.5 million or $0.33 per share, fully diluted, in the first quarter of 2014. 

Solid financial position
As at March 31, 2015, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $517.2 million compared with $444.6 million three months earlier. The increase essentially reflects higher working capital requirements, as per normal seasonal demand patterns, and the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. As at March 31, 2015 Stella-Jones, total debt to total capitalization ratio was 0.40:1, compared with 0.39:1 as at December 31, 2014.

Working capital requirements included the normal seasonal inventory build-up ahead of peak demand in the second and third quarters. The seasonal inventory build-up was more accentuated in the first quarter of 2015 due to untreated railway tie availability returning to normal levels, which enabled Stella-Jones to start rebuilding inventory levels. As a result, the value of inventories stood at $611.5 million as at March 31, 2015, versus $487.7 million as at December 31, 2014.

Letter of intent to acquire Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc.
During the quarter, the Company signed a non-binding letter of intent to purchase the shares of Ram Forest Group Inc. and Ramfor Lumber Inc. Through its wholly-owned subsidiaries, Ram Forest Products Inc. and Trent Timber Treating Ltd., Ram Forest Group manufactures and sells pressure treated wood products and accessories to the retail building materials industry. Ramfor Lumber is a lumber purchasing entity serving Ram Forest Products and Trent Timber Treating. 

Ram Forest Products operates a wood treating facility in Gormley, Ontario and Trent Timber Treating operates a wood treating facility in Peterborough, Ontario. The wood milling plant operated by Ram Forest Products in Uxbridge, Ontario is not part of the transaction, and existing Ram Forest Group shareholders will continue to own this plant. Consolidated sales of the acquired facilities for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2014 reached approximately $90.2 million.

The transaction, if finalized, is expected to close in October 2015 and is subject to customary conditions, including satisfactory due diligence, signature of a definitive share purchase agreement and regulatory clearance. Stella-Jones plans to finance the transaction through its existing revolving credit facility.

"This transaction will expand Stella-Jones' wood treating capabilities in the residential lumber market and allow us to build upon Ram Forest Group's longstanding relationships with key customers. The proposed timetable for the transaction has been carefully designed to minimize disruption of Ram Forest Group's operations and ensure a seamless transition for its customers, suppliers and employees," added Mr. McManus.

Quarterly dividend of $0.08 per share
On April 28, 2015, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.08 per common share, payable on June 26, 2015 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 2, 2015.

Outlook
"As we believe the momentum in the North American economy will continue, demand for our core products should remain solid in 2015. Stella-Jones remains focussed on enhancing shareholder value by optimizing the efficiency of its continental network, while seeking selective and accretive opportunities to further expand its presence in the wood treating industry, as evidenced by the proposed acquisition in Ontario," concluded Mr. McManus.

Conference call
Stella-Jones will hold a conference call to discuss these results on April 29, 2015, at 1:30 PM 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 tape recording of the meeting by calling 1-800-585-8367 and entering the passcode 17072554. This tape recording will be available on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 as of 5:30 PM Eastern Time until 11:59 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, May 6, 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 first quarter ended March 31, 2015 are available on Stella-Jones' website at www.stella-jones.com

March 26, 2015 — Stella-Jones Inc. (TSX:SJ) ("Stella-Jones" or the "Company") today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2014.

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