All indications are that the future may be bright for Western Forest Products, which operates two sawmills in Nanaimo, and the province’s forest industry after years of struggle.
WFP, one of the largest forest companies in the province, reported in May that it had completed one of the best financial quarter in the company’s history, largely due to improved log and lumber markets after years of a downturn in the industry.
WFP announced at the time that its had made almost $32 million in earnings before interest, taxes and depreciation in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of $22.5 million over the first quarter of 2012. Adding to the optimism for the company and the sector, the Conference Board of Canada predicted last week the nation’s wood products industry will likely see its profits double in 2013, largely due to the ongoing recovery in the U.S. housing market and the strong Chinese demand for wood products.
The downturn in B.C.’s forest industry, which began in 2007 with the crash of the American housing market, has seen hundreds of forestry workers in Nanaimo and the mid-Island region lose their jobs and many of the area’s sawmills are still working with skeleton crews until the sector improves, including the WFP mills in downtown Nanaimo and at Duke Point.
WFP spokeswoman Mackenzie Leine said the company is moving forward with its plans to invest $200 million into its sawmills on Vancouver Island over a three-year period, and the $38 million in upgrades and renovations at the company’s Saltair operation in Ladysmith are almost complete, with a further $7 million in upgrades at its sawmill in Port Alberni still ongoing.
From the Nanaimo Daily News: http://www.nanaimodailynews.com/news/future-looks-much-brighter-for-western-forest-products-company-1.572781