Following several years of below capacity operation and controversy, Klausner Holding USA, owner of sawmills in Enfield, NC and Live Oak, Fla., filed for Chap. 11 bankruptcy in early May, claiming more than $100 million in debt, after the company’s Austria-based employees and executives were apparently “evacuated” to Europe in mid-March with no notice to U.S. employees as the coronavirus crisis expanded.
According to news and legal reports, the mills were closed abruptly in violation of several labor laws. Both sawmills were hit by default judgments in April for no-notice worker pay violations.
The reports paint a picture of employees who were essentially kicked to the curb in mid-March as their jobs and mills were abandoned by management and ownership officials who left the country. According to one report, the mills were left with “no ability to operate, no financing, and no liquidity.”
Once considered major investments courted by communities across the Southeast as the economy improved following the 2008-2009 Great Recession, the Klausner mills never got up to speed anywhere close to their respective 350MMBF capacities.
The Florida mill, which started out under a cloud of foundation issues and construction problems, began operating in 2015. The North Carolina sawmill started up in 2018 and was never able to move into full operation.
Despite drastically improved lumber markets from 2014 through much of 2018, news reports show that neither mill reached the full employment as projected in their respective economic development claims.
U.S. housing starts fell in August from July, at a seasonally adjusted rate of 1.283 million, down 11.3%. Single-family starts were at a rate of 941,000, 4.3% below July, while multi-family starts were the primary culprit at 334,000, down 26.3%, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development monthly new residential construction report…
Vancouver, BC-based Canfor Corp. is investing $200 million to build a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Houston, British Columbia, which will have an annual production capacity of 350MMBF. “I’m very pleased to be making this announcement in British Columbia, where Canfor has been proudly headquartered for 85 years,” comments Don Kayne, President and CEO. “This decision comes following…
West Fraser has announced that it has entered into an agreement to acquire Spray Lake Sawmills located in Cochrane, Alberta subject to certain post-closing adjustments. Spray Lake Sawmills produces treated wood products, dimensional lumber and a variety of residuals and biproducts, with an annual lumber capacity of 155 MMBF and…
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