VANCOUVER, BC – West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., an integrated wood products company producing lumber, wood chips, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp and newsprint, announced earnings of $118 million on sales of $833 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. The company earned $349 million on sales of $3.47 billion for the entire year 2013.
The fourth quarter 2013 showed a slight decline in earnings from the third quarter. According to the company, restructuring charges of $24 million were included in its operating earnings in the quarter, representing costs associated with the planned closure of its sawmill in Houston, BC. Although some benefit was provided by higher lumber prices and a weaker Canadian dollar, it was offset by the effect of reduced shipments. Weakened lumber markets late in the quarter from severe weather reduced demand and affected transportation.
Prices for wide-width SYP lumber declined during the quarter, which also adversely affected U.S. lumber results. The panel segment, including plywood, LVL and MDF, also saw reduced operating earnings in the quarter, mostly reflecting reduced plywood shipments due to a seasonal slowdown in the Canadian building industry and weather-related reduced railcar deliveries.
“We consider that 2013 represents a year of remarkable recovery,” said Ted Seraphim, president and CEO. “We achieved our highest earnings since 2006 reflecting a continuing improvement in the U.S. housing market after a prolonged downturn. We are early in the recovery and as such, we expect some volatility, but the overall trend remains positive. We are also experiencing some of the benefits from our ongoing major capital investment program.”
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