VANCOUVER, BC Interfor Corp. said weak demand for southern yellow pine lumber is forcing it to reduce production by 20 percent at its southern U.S. mills.

Work hours at the mills were reduced by five hours until further notice, Interfor (TSX:IFP) said.  "Prices for southern yellow pine lumber have fallen by 27 percent since the beginning of the year as available supply has outstripped product demand in the region," said Duncan Davies, Interfor's president and CEO.

"This action will help bring Interfor's production and the needs of our customers back into balance. It will also help to keep inventory levels in check as we move into the fall."

Affected are the sawmills in Baxley, Thomaston and Meldrim, Georgia; Georgetown, South Carolina; and Monticello, Arkansas. Planned maintenance and reliability improvements will take place at the sawmills during the slowdown "which will offset the financial impact of the curtailments on a go-forward basis," the company said.

Interfor has an annual production capacity of more than 3 billion board feet, with operations in Canada and the United States. The company has nine sawmills across the southern United States, with total annual capacity of approximately 1.3 billion board feet.

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