Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada 27 July 2017 -- Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX:WEF) ("Western" or the "Company") today announced the indefinite curtailment of its Somass Sawmill, located in Port Alberni, B.C. The Somass Sawmill has been temporarily curtailed since February 2017, prior to which it operated on a single shift basis. Western intends to offer voluntary severance to its Somass Sawmill hourly employees.
The difficult decision to indefinitely curtail operations is in response to the lack of log supply to operate the mill efficiently, as well as the uncertainty caused by duties recently applied to Canadian softwood lumber products sold into the United States. Western is focused on reducing costs to remain competitive. Cost reductions will be delivered through operational consolidation. The Company expects to offset lost production from Somass by increasing production at its other operations on Vancouver Island.
"We have made the announcement today to provide clarity and options for our Somass employees. We will be encouraging employees to explore opportunities for employment at Western's other sawmills on Vancouver Island," said Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer of Western. "Western is committed to creating the most competitive specialty softwood lumber manufacturing business possible. We have invested over $300 million on the coast of B.C. since 2012, including $100 million in modernizing our Vancouver Island manufacturing facilities, and we remain focused on ensuring the long-term viability of our business for the benefit of our employees, shareholders, and the communities in which we operate."
About Western Forest Products Inc.
Western is an integrated Canadian forest products company and is the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer. The Company has an annual available harvest of approximately 6.1 million cubic metres of timber, of which approximately 5.9 million cubic metres is from Crown lands. Western has a lumber capacity in excess of 1.1 billion board feet from seven sawmills and one remanufacturing plant. Principal activities conducted by the Company include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and valueadded remanufacturing. Substantially all of Western's operations, employees and corporate facilities are located in the coastal region of British Columbia, with sales worldwide.