WINNIPEG - Prendiville Industries, the parent of Kenora Forest Products, has filed for bankruptcy and is seeking to sell its Kenora Forest mill by April.
Prendiville purchased the mill in 1994 and ran it for 14 years at full steam. It curtailed it in 2008 and didn't reopen it until 2015. It then ran until September 2019, before it was shuttered. More than 100 workers were laid off.
Since September, just nine workers remain on site, working to maintain assets and moving already-purchased lumber. Those workers will be let go by March.
Prendivlle says the company is up to date on paying employee wages and benefits, but it owes around $29 million to trucking companies, the Crown for timber charges, and to the City of Kenora for property taxes, writes CBC. Before August, the company suffered a net loss of $7.6 million.
We've written about many closures and layoffs in Canada over the past couple of years, most of them taking place in British Columbia - Canada's largest lumber-producing province. BC has seen more than 20 mill closures and curtailments since 2018. Many Canadian lumber leaders have taken a hit - including West Fraser, Canfor, Interfor, and Conifex - and have either shut down plants or restricted production, with West Fraser and Canfor curtailing production more than once.
All cited challenging lumber markets, high log costs, log supply constraints, falling lumber prices, and U.S. import tariffs as factors.
Softwood lumber import tariffs of around 21 percent were levied onto Canada in 2018. The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) told MarketWatch that those tariffs are restructuring the entire lumber global supply chain - incentivizing U.S. buyers to import from overseas rather than ship lumber across the Canadian border.
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