West Fraser Timber reports Q3 loss of $198M

VANCOUVER — West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) reported a loss of $198 million in its latest quarter on Monday, hit by a charge related to the closing of its linerboard and kraft paper mill in Kitimat, B.C., next year.

VANCOUVER — West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) reported a loss of $198 million in its latest quarter on Monday, hit by a charge related to the closing of its linerboard and kraft paper mill in Kitimat, B.C., next year.

The company said it lost $198 million or $4.64 per share on sales of $679 million in the third quarter of 2009 compared with a loss of $2 million or five cents per share, on sales of $848 million a year ago.

The loss included a $138-million charge related to the Kitimat mill and $17 million in charges related to the company’s sawmill assets.

In its outlook, the company said the U.S. housing market showed some signs of improvement in the quarter as housing starts increased slightly, the inventory of new homes continued to decline and interest rates remained low.

West Fraser said the closure of our linerboard and kraft paper plant will result in additional costs in the fourth quarter, but results from ongoing operations are expected to improve due to current strong demand and pricing for pulp.

“Our strong balance sheet, conservative business philosophy and longstanding emphasis on controlling costs will serve us well as we work through this difficult time in our industry’s history,”said Hank Ketcham, West Fraser’s chairman, president and chief executive.

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