MARKHAM, ON. CANADA -Arauco, a Chilean-based manufacturer of wood products, cemented its position as North America's largest producer of particleboard and MDF in finalizing its purchase of Flakeboard Company.

The transaction is valued at $242.5 million U.S. It caps a deal announced on June 8 involving Flakeboard's seven particleboard and MDF mills in Canada and the United States.

In January Arauco completed its purchase of Uniboard's huge particleboard, MDF and TFM complex in Moncure, NC, from Pfleiderer of Germany. The mill's have a combined annual production capacity of 1.6 billion square feet on a ¾-inch basis, the most in North America and third most in the world.

Arauco will operate its eight North American mills under the Flakeboard name and Flakeboard's existing senior management team. Kelly Shotbolt is being retained as president and CEO of Flakeboard North America.

"We can now start the process of integrating Arauco's U.S. manufacturing operations into Flakeboard, and integrating Flakeboard into Arauco's Global business," Shotbolt said. "Our employees look forward to the exchange of ideas and the sharing of best practices across the larger business to become an even better supplier to our customers."

Flakeboard purchased six particleboard and MDF mills from Weyerhaeuser in 2006 and subsequently invested millions of dollars in plant upgrades, including adding melamine lines. One of those mills, a particleboard plant in Simsboro, LA, was sold to Roseburg Forest Products last fall.

Arauco’s North American presence, before buying the Uniboard facilities in Moncure, was mainly limited to a sales and service office in Atlanta. Uniboard's parent, Pfleiderer of Germany, recently sold off Uniboard Canada to Keycan.

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