In 2012 and especially in Q1/2013, U.S.-based sawmills led all 32 global countries and regions surveyed in financial earnings, mainly from improved demand, a run up in lumber prices and from low log costs. This also meant that North American mills (including Canada) achieved the highest global earnings for both 2012 and Q1/2013 as compared to Europe, Russia and the Southern Hemisphere.
Since 2008, sawmills in the U.S South have attained the highest EBITDA earnings in North America: in 2012 this advantage widened as delivered log costs remained flat since 2010 while other regions had log supply issues and/or rising costs. All three regions surveyed in the U.S. South placed in the top five spots for global earnings in 2012 and were the top three regions in global earnings in Q1/2013. Sawmills in the U.S West performed well but earnings were much lower than the U.S. South; however, they still edged out Western Canada mills.
Overall, the highest global sawmill earnings in 2012 were achieved in South Africa, who led all top-quartile mills and have placed in the top 3 spots in all WOOD MARKETS’ surveys since 2002. The ranking of earnings and operating results, including detailed pro-formas of log and sawmill costs for both “average” and “top quartile” (or best) sawmills, are part of the comprehensive Global Timber / Sawmill / Lumber-Sawnwood Cost Benchmarking Report—2012 & Q1/2013 (sixth edition), a biannual study researched and published by International WOOD MARKETS Group (in association with The Beck Group) that was released this month.