Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 05 December 2011 -- After lengthy and indefinite shutdowns that followed the collapse of the United States residential housing market in 2008, Canfor Corporation (TSX:CFP) has decided to close its historic Rustad sawmill in Prince George, and its Tackama mill in Fort Nelson, British Columbia.
Canfor has determined that the capital investment needed to bring the Rustad facility up to globally competitive operating standards is prohibitive. The company has instead focused a CAD 300 million, 3-year capital investment plan on other facilities where smaller amounts of capital spending can realize significant improvements in cost performance and capacity.
Canfor acquired the Rustad sawmill in 1999, and operated the facility for 10 years until slowing U.S. lumber demand forced operations to cease in 2009. To that point, the mill had been in continuous operation for 62 years. The Tackama operation in Fort Nelson was part of Canfor’s 2004 acquisition of Slocan Forest Products, and at the time was British Columbia’s largest plywood facility.
Although the decision has been made to cease manufacturing operations at these locations, Canfor is proud to have been part of the impressive legacy both plants had in their communities. Further information will be available over the next several weeks on plans to repurpose portions of the Rustad site for trades training and education.
“Canfor remains fully committed to the BC Interior, the communities of Prince George and Fort Nelson, and to our employees,” said CEO Don Kayne. “The Province of British Columbia, government of Canada, and BC forest industry are seeing tremendous success in the joint effort to develop new markets for BC wood products throughout the Asia Pacific. We believe that demand for green, environmentally sustainable building materials will continue to grow in our core United States market and around the world, and that a bright and prosperous future is ahead for the BC forest sector and forest communities.”
Rustad and Tackama employees will receive statutory payments and severance as negotiated with the United Steelworkers.
Canfor is a leading integrated forest products company based in Vancouver, British Columbia, with operations in Alberta, British Columbia, and Quebec in Canada, and in North Carolina, South Carolina, and Washington in the United States. The company produces primarily softwood lumber, and also produces oriented strand board (OSB), remanufactured lumber products, bleached chemithermomechanical pulp, and specialized wood products. Canfor also owns a 50.2% interest in Canfor Pulp Limited Partnership, which is one of the largest producers of northern softwood kraft pulp in Canada and a leading producer of high performance kraft paper. Canfor shares are traded on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol CFP.