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Farrell Lumber closes

BY HBSDEALER Staff

H.S. Farrell, an independent pro dealer that has served Staten Island, N.Y., for several generations, has begun to liquidate its operation, according to an article in the Staten Island Advance. The family owned business, which did business under the name Farrell Lumber, cited the building downturn, competition from big-box stores and the death of one of its principals as reasons for the closure.

Headquartered in Port Richmond, H.S. Farrell opened as a planning mill in 1888. Thomas Farrell, who operated the business with his father Robert Farrell, told the newspaper that it had become increasingly more difficult to maintain a profit over the past several years.

Signs announcing the home center’s liquidation were posted on March 2, and letters to customers — which included homeowners, construction companies, hospitals and government agencies — went out last weekend, the newspaper reported.

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West Fraser further reduces lumber production

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Vancouver, B.C.-based West Fraser has announced additional lumber production curtailments due to weak demand.

The company plans to shut down seven of its B.C. sawmills from one to two weeks starting March 16. Total production curtailed is expected to be about 44 million board feet, and 1,160 employees will be affected.

These reductions are in addition to curtailments at the company’s Canadian facilities of about 1.12 billion board feet on an annualized basis.

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LP posts $340 million quarterly loss

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Louisiana-Pacific, one of the industry’s leading producers of oriented strand board, siding and engineered wood products, reported sales of $250.2 million for its fourth fiscal quarter of 2008, a 33 percent drop from the same period in 2007. Losses for the quarter, which ended on Dec. 31, 2008, were $340 million, compared to $52 million in the fourth quarter of 2007.

For the full year, LP posted net sales of $1.37 billion, compared to $1.70 billion in fiscal 2007. The company’s net loss for 2008 was $579 million, versus $180 million in the previous year.

The company also announced it was looking at various options to increase its liquidity, including the possible financing or refinancing on transactions; the issuance of secured or unsecured debt, equity or hybrid securities; or the entry into one or more credit facilities.

In a conference call with investors and analysts, LP’s chief executive Rick Frost discussed the impact of the economic recession on company sales in Brazil, a bright spot until the fourth quarter. “Across the world nearly all the businesses became paralyzed in Q4 of 2008,” Frost said.

About half of the company’s quarterly loss, $21 million, was incurred with the start-up of a mill in Houlton, Maine, in the fourth quarter, when Louisiana-Pacific launched its new laminated strand lumber (LSL) product.

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