Western Forest Products Inc.
TSX : WEF

Western Forest Products Inc.

February 13, 2012 19:31 ET

Western Positioning for the Future with First Step in Capital Plan

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Feb. 13, 2012) - Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) ("Western" or "the Company") announced today the first project in our capital plan; a $16 million investment in the Saltair Sawmill. Western was joined by Steve Thomson, Minister of Forests, Lands, and Natural Resource Operations, for the formal site announcement.

The Saltair Sawmill, built in 1972, converts coastal mid-size logs into high value specialized lumber products in Hemlock, Douglas fir and Western Red Cedar. This capital project will make Saltair the largest single line sawmill on the coast of BC and will provide upgrades to the edgers, stacker and sorters. The upgrades will increase production by approximately 15%, lowering the per unit cost of production, and improving competitiveness with global producers. Increased efficiencies with the upgrade will reduce mill bottlenecks, not only a benefit to productivity, but also to the safety of the work environment.

Western's ability to provide a variety of products to a diverse customer base will ensure we are able to operate through varying market conditions. Upgraded edgers will facilitate onsite production of prime sizes for the ever growing Asian market; a critical part of our customer profile which also includes Europe, Australia, and North America. Once the project is complete, a more competitive mill, that can absorb market fluctuations, will provide more stable and secure employment for the 140 existing mill jobs.

"With our improved financial results and a secure timber supply; both key to having the confidence to invest, we are taking the first step in our plan. Our capital planning focus now shifts to other high return projects that make up the remainder of our capital investment strategy," said Dominic Gammiero, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

Western Forest Products

Western is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer with an annual available harvest of approximately 7.4 million cubic metres of timber of which approximately 7.2 million cubic metres is from Crown lands and lumber capacity in excess of 1.5 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing plants. Principal activities conducted by the Company include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips and value-added remanufacturing. Substantially all of Western's operations, employees and corporate facilities are located in the coastal region of British Columbia while its products are sold in over 25 countries worldwide.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains statements which constitute forward-looking statements and information within the meaning of applicable securities laws, including statements regarding a sale of timber tenures and our current intentions not to sell any other Crown timber tenure in the future. Readers are cautioned that it would be unreasonable to rely on any such forward-looking statements and information as creating legal rights, and that the statements and information provided are not guarantees either that the announced transaction will be completed, or that the Company will not in the future sell any additional tenures if circumstances or management's intentions in that regard should change.

Contact Information

  • Western Forest Products Inc.
    Lee Doney
    Vice Chairman
    (250) 882-6444

    Western Forest Products Inc.
    Brian Cairo
    CFO and Corporate Secretary
    (250) 734-4710
    www.westernforest.com