Clearwater Paper announces sawmill sale to Idaho Forest Group
Clearwater Paper Corp. has entered into an agreement to sell its Lewiston, Idaho, sawmill to Idaho Forest Group of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.
The transaction includes the sale of Clearwater Paper’s sawmill, planer mill, dry kilns and related assets, along with log and finished goods inventories and timber under contract, in the aggregate amount of about $30 million.
The companies have entered into a long-term residual fiber supply agreement with the goal of delivering consistent supplies of chips and sawdust to Clearwater Paper’s Lewiston pulp mill from Idaho Forest Group Mills.
"This has been a very careful and thoughtful decision for everyone at the company," said Tom Colgrove, president of pulp and paperboard at Clearwater Paper. "We believe that this is the best possible outcome for the mill and its continued operation in the region, our company and our shareholders.
"We believe the tough times in the lumber industry will continue into the fore-seeable future, and that the mill will be operated by a company whose core focus is lumber," he added. "We believe IFG has the people, resources and the business structure to make the Lewiston sawmill very successful."
About 250 affected Clearwater Paper employees will receive severance and all provisions subject to the WARN Act, which includes up to 60 days’ worth of pay and benefits.
Idaho Forest Group will officially take possession in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Pending home sales decline in September
The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings, fell 4.6% to 84.5 in September from 88.6 in August but is 6.4% higher than September 2010 when it stood at 79.4, according to the National Association of Realtors. The data reflects contracts but not closings.
“A combination of weak consumer confidence and continuing tight lending criteria held back home buyers, even though the private sector added nearly 2 million net new jobs in the past 12 months,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist.
The PHSI in the Northeast declined 4.7% to 60.6 in September but is 4% above a year ago. In the Midwest, the index dropped 6.2% to 71.5 in September but is 12.3% higher than September 2010. Pending home sales in the South fell 5.5% in September to 91.6 but are 5% above a year ago. In the West, the index declined 2.1% to 105.8 in September but is 5.6% higher than September 2010.
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Education and motivation at the ProDealer Industry Summit
San Antonio — The ProDealer Industry Summit continued yesterday with a full educational program that covered everything from the latest U.S. census data and its impact on residential construction to succession planning for family-owned businesses.
Connie Podesta, a motivational speaker and executive coach, gave a well-received talk that helped audience participants identify their strengths and weaknesses using geometric shapes. David Vandenbroucke, a senior economist with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, delivered a dark short-term forecast but a brighter long-term outlook.
“I don’t have much comfort to give right now,” he said, citing the shadow inventory of foreclosed houses and the disproportionate amount of income consumers spend on housing. “We’re going to be seeing what we’re seeing for at least another couple of years.”
But like the Harvard Joint Center for Housing, Vandenbroucke predicted an upswing in housing construction based on growing population needs. “There is a long-term tide that is moving in, [and] it’s going to require building more houses,” he said.
A presentation on remodeling by Joe Emison, the founder of BuildFax, an organization that aggregates building permits from MSAs across the country, focused on the trend toward “comfort” remodels and repair work as opposed to renovations that increase the value of a home.
Jim Schaffer, a former LBM executive (Diamond Lumber, Erb Lumber and Builders Square) who now does consulting work for the industry, addressed the issue of employee compensation. Schaffer cited a Deloitte survey finding that 75% of the U.S. employment work force are either discontented, disengaged or discouraged. He warned the PDIS attendees that once the economy recovers, “It’s going to be your top performers that are visible in the [job] marketplace.” Among Schaffer’s suggestions were to avoid across-the-board salary cuts and hold managers accountable for employee retention.
A dinner banquet honoring TW Perry as Pro Dealer of the Year capped off day two of the conference. The event, which is co-sponsored by the National Lumber & Building Materials Dealers Association and Home Channel News, ends today with a tour of McCoy’s Building Supply in San Antonio.
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