Duncan, British Columbia, Canada, 19 June 2008 – Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX: WEF) will curtail production in July and August 2008 in response to weak lumber markets. Existing customer orders are unaffected.
Conditions for forest products remain weak in the United States and Japan, Western's major markets. Demand for cedar products in the United States is also softening. Accordingly, to align log production with revised levels of anticipated demand, Western will curtail selected timber harvesting operations on Vancouver Island, the Queen Charlotte Islands, and the Sunshine Coast during July and August. This reduction represents slightly more than half the normal timber harvesting undertaken during this period. These harvesting curtailments affect about 650 of Western’s hourly employees and 1200 contractor employees.
Consistent with these lower levels of customer demand and log harvest, the company will also shut down its sawmill at Duke Point during the same two-month period. This is in addition to the previously announced indefinite shutdown of the Ladysmith sawmill, and various shorter term curtailments at other mills.
These actions have been taken in the face of the unusually depressed market for forest products, particularly the home construction lumber industry in the United States and in Japan, which have been discussed in more detail in the company’s annual management discussion and analysis, available at www.sedar.com
. If such market conditions continue, the company may determine that further curtailments are required.
Western Forest Products
Western is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer with an annual available harvest of approximately 7.5 million cubic meters of timber, of which 7.3 million cubic meters is from Crown lands and lumber capacity in excess of 1.5 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing plants. Principal activities conducted by the company include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added remanufacturing. Substantially all of Western’s operations, employees, and corporate facilities are located in the coastal region of British Columbia, while its products are sold in more than 30 countries worldwide.