West Fraser posts $167 million loss in 2023

VANCOUVER, British Columbia – West Fraser Timber, the largest manufacturer of softwood lumber in North America, reported a loss of $167 million on $6.454 billion in total sales in 2023 compared to turning a profit of $1.975 billion on $9.701 billion in 2022.

The company’s market challenges were most pronounced in the fourth quarter when it reported a loss of $153 million on sales of $1.514 billion.

“The fourth quarter of 2023 saw continued weakness in demand for our North American lumber and European panel products. In contrast, demand for our North American OSB, plywood and other engineered products experienced resilient demand as new home construction markets were surprisingly robust with mortgage rates showing signs of stabilizing after moving meaningfully higher earlier in the year,” said Sean McLaren, West Fraser’s president and CEO. "On balance, while 2023 was a challenging year financially, it was also a period marked by significant progress in our ongoing portfolio optimization strategy, which we advanced through acquisitions, announced divestitures, mill curtailments and major capital investments."

In recent months, West Fraser closed sawmills in Fraser Lake, British Columbia, and Maxville, Fla. The company also announced that it was indefinitely curtailing operations at its sawmill in Huttig, Ark. Those recent lumber production reductions followed West Fraser’s November acquisition of Spray Lakes Sawmills of Cochrane, Alberta.

"Although demand markets face a measure of uncertainty in the near term, we will continue to look for opportunities that improve West Fraser over the longer term. We have been prudent and purposeful in preparing the company for what may lie ahead as we transition into 2024. And we believe our people and our culture combined with our diversified manufacturing platform and financial flexibility will continue to provide competitive advantages that are important to the business and our stakeholders, and that will allow us to continue to successfully execute our business strategy.”



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Rich Christianson | President/Owner/C-Level

Rich Christianson is the owner of Richson Media LLC, a Chicago-based communications firm focused on the industrial woodworking sector. Rich is the former long-time editorial director and associate publisher of Woodworking Network. During his nearly 35-year career, Rich has toured more than 250 woodworking operations throughout North America, Europe and Asia and has written extensively on woodworking technology, design and supply trends. He has also directed and promoted dozens of woodworking trade shows, conferences and seminars including the Cabinets & Closets Conference & Expo and the Woodworking Machinery & Supply Conference & Expo, Canada’s largest woodworking show.