West Fraser boosts Q4 earnings
West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. reported earnings of $22 million or $0.51 per share on sales of $773 million in the fourth quarter of 2012 and earnings of $87 million or $2.02 per share, on sales of $3 billion for 2012.
“In the second half of 2012 we saw encouraging signs that the U.S. housing market is recovering,” said Hank Ketcham, West Fraser’s Chairman and CEO. “This has led to gradual improvement of results from our building products operations.”
In the quarter West Fraser’s lumber operations generated operating earnings of $52 million (Q3 -$37 million) and EBITDA of $75 million (Q3 – $58 million). The improvement in the results reflects improved prices for SPF and SYP lumber.
The panel segment, which includes plywood, LVL and MDF, generated operating earnings in the quarter of $7 million (Q3 -$22 million) and EBITDA of $12 million (Q3 – $25 million) as Canadian dollar plywood prices weakened from third quarter levels.
Pulp and paper operations generated operating earnings in the quarter of $13 million (Q3 – $17 million) and EBITDA of $24 million (Q3 – $28 million). Improved NBSK pricing was offset by weakening BCTMP and newsprint markets.
“We are approaching 2013 with guarded optimism that the long-awaited U.S. housing recovery is taking hold. We will continue to invest in our existing facilities in order to maintain and improve our competitiveness,” stated the company.
West Fraser also announced that, as part of its ongoing leadership succession process, effective March 1, 2013 Hank Ketcham will assume the role of Executive Chairman and Ted Seraphim, who is currently the company’s President and Chief Operating Officer, will be appointed President and Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Seraphim will also be nominated for election as a director of the Company at the Company’s April 30, 2013 Annual General Meeting.