Canfor in the black

financial statement for Canfor

AUTUMN MacDONALD

Observer Reporter

A continued increase to lumber shipments in key Asian markets is helping to offset the poor U.S housing starts.

Canfor Corporation reported net income of $54.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2010, compared to $33.5 million for the third quarter of 2010 and a net loss of $9.1 million for the fourth quarter of 2009. For the year ended December 31, 2010, the company’s net income was $161.3 million, compared to a net loss of $62.8 million for 2009.

“We continue to be very encouraged by the growth of our lumber business in key Asian markets, particularly Japan and China, which has mitigated some of the impact of the slow U.S. housing market,” Canfor president and CEO Jim Shepard said.

Canfor’s reported net income comprises both net income attributable to equity shareholders (shareholder net income) and non-controlling interests. The company’s shareholder net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $30.7 million, or $0.21 per share, up from $5.6 million, or $0.04 per share, for the third quarter of 2010 and an improvement from a loss of $17.0 million, or $0.12 per share, reported for the fourth quarter of 2009.

For the 2010 year, shareholder net income was $70.0 million, or $0.49 per share, compared to a net loss of $70.5 million, or $0.50 per share, for 2009.

Shareholder net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 included several items affecting comparability with prior periods, which had an overall positive impact of $17.8 million, or $0.12 per share.

After adjusting for all items affecting comparability, the company’s adjusted net income for the fourth quarter of 2010 was $12.9 million, or 0.09 per share, compared to similarly adjusted net income of $11.6 million, or $0.08 per share, for the third quarter of 2010 and an adjusted net loss of $24.2 million, or $0.17 per share, for the fourth quarter of 2009.

For the year ended December 31, 2010, adjusted net income was $63.1 million, or $0.44 per share, compared to an adjusted net loss of $162.0 million, or $1.14 per share, for the year ended December 31, 2009.

The North American lumber market continued to reflect a struggling U.S. housing sector in the fourth quarter of 2010. There was some good news on the demand side however, as China’s increasing consumption of B.C. softwood lumber continued in the quarter and helped to support higher North American market prices for narrower dimensions.

Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp markets remained strong in the fourth quarter, with prices holding firm through the quarter after a dip in demand in the third quarter.

The average North American benchmark Western SPF (spruce, pine, fir) 2×4 lumber price was up US$46 per thousand board feet, or 21 per cent, in the fourth quarter, but North American price increases for most other grades and dimensions were more modest while prices in offshore markets also saw smaller gains.

The company’s Western SPF sales realizations in the fourth quarter also reflected a lower-value sales mix, in part due to lower production of higher-value prime products, as well as a stronger Canadian dollar. As a result, sales realizations were up only slightly from the previous quarter.

Southern Yellow Pine (SYP) lumber price movements were also mixed, with modest gains on narrow widths offset by a small decrease in prices for wider dimensions.

Lumber results for the fourth quarter were somewhat clouded by significant downtime related to capital projects at a number of the company’s operations, including a major sawmill and planer rebuild at the Fort St. John mill.

The company’s lumber operations ran at approximately 65 per cent of capacity in the fourth quarter of 2010, down from 70 per cent in the previous quarter.

The lower operating

levels, as well as higher energy and log costs in the

current quarter, contributed to higher unit manufacturing costs compared to the previous quarter.

In December, Canfor announced a $300 million three-year capital spending program for its lumber business that is focused on increased productivity, higher recoveries, lower energy costs and efficient prime lumber extraction. Approximately $120 million of this capital spending is scheduled for 2011.

“We believe this is the right time to take our operations to new levels of cost-competitiveness to take full advantage of the growing China market combined with the expected U.S. market recovery,” Shepard said.