West Fraser posts Q2 loss

Forestry company West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) reported a loss of $39 million in its second quarter on Tuesday, eliminating a small profit in the year-earlier period.

VANCOUVER — Forestry company West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) reported a loss of $39 million in its second quarter on Tuesday, eliminating a small profit in the year-earlier period.

The loss in the three-month period that ended June 30 amounted to 91 cents per share, down from a profit of $3 million or eight cents per share in the second quarter of 2008.

Sales totalled $667 million for the second quarter, down from $823 million a year earlier.

The results from the Vancouver-based company were an improvement over a loss of $83 million, or $1.94 per share, on sales of $619 million in the first quarter of 2009.

West Fraser attributed its performance to an increase in lumber prices, continuing weakness in new home construction and price declines for all products combined with maintenance shutdown at the Cariboo facility and the Kitimat linerboard and kraft paper mill.

“Our results reflect the continuing very poor economic environment that has significantly reduced home construction in North America and reduced the demand for our pulp and paper products,” West Fraser chairman, president and CEO Hank Ketcham said in a release.

West Fraser produces lumber, wood chips, plywood, pulp, linerboard, kraft paper, newsprint and other wood products. It employs about 8,500 workers in operations in western Canada and the southern United States, with its operations including Sundre Forest Products and West Fraser LVL near Rocky Mountain House.

Before it announced its second-quarter earnings, shares in West Fraser closed Tuesday at $24.39, up $2.50 or nearly 12 per cent, on the TSX..

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