Canfor Corp. announced Friday it has reached an agreement to purchase three sawmills in the southern U.S., marking the third major purchase in the region this year by a B.C. forest company.

“Basically, we have a Canadian invasion going on,” said David Elstone, an analyst with ERA Forest Forest Products Research.

Canfor announced it is purchasing the three mills from family-owned Scotch and Gulf Lumber, of Mobile, Ala., for $80 million U.S. The purchase is phased, with Canfor taking a 25-percent interest in the company when the deal closes in the third quarter of 2013, a 50-percent interest 18 months later, and full ownership at the end of three years.

The mills have a combined capacity of 440,000 board feet of Southern Yellow Pine a year. “This agreement provides access to an exceptional fiber base, increases our Southern Pine production capacity to more than a billion board feet and will improve our ability to serve our valued U.S. customers,” Canfor president Don Kayne said in a news release announcing the deal.

Canfor already owns five sawmills in North Carolina. Rival West Fraser owns 13 mills spread across the South, and earlier this year Interfor purchased three mills in Georgia. It recently announced a fourth mill purchase.

From The Vancouver Sun: