West Fraser acquires Gilman Companies with 7 mills in US
July 31, 2017 - West Fraser is adding seven new U.S. operations including six sawmills and a finger-joint mill in Florida and Georgia as part of the company's acquisition of Gilman Companies.
By Maria Church
The deal made with the Howard Gilman Foundation and other shareholders is for approximately US$430 million, and is expected to close in the third quarter of this year.
The seven operations as well as an administrative office in St. Marys, Ga., in total employes about 900 people. The mills have a combined annual production capacity of 700 million bft of southern yellow pine lumber.
“We look forward to welcoming our new employees to the West Fraser organization. The Gilman Companies’ strong management team combined with high margin operations fits well with our existing U.S. platform of mills,” West Fraser’s president and CEO Ted Seraphim said in a news release.
“This is a long-term strategic move that strengthens our core lumber business and gives us increased scale and geographic diversification. Growing our lumber business has been one of our key strategic goals,” Seraphim said. “This is a rare opportunity to acquire a U.S. lumber producer of a meaningful scale with high quality facilities and a culture similar to our own.”
Once the acquisition closes, West Fraser’s combined Canadian and U.S. lumber production capacity will total 7.2 billion board feet, 57 per cent of which will be Canadian spruce/pine/fir (SPF) lumber and 43 per cent will be U.S. southern yellow pine.
“We are delighted to announce this transaction” Mary Farrell, president of The Howard Gilman Foundation, said in the release. “West Fraser is a leader in the North American forest products industry, and through them, we have found a true partner for Gilman Building Products capable of providing strategic expertise and capital to grow and modernize the business. The foundation has been a proud steward of the Company for nearly 20 years and believes that a combination with West Fraser will deliver long-term benefits to our loyal and long serving employees and the communities in which we operate.”