October 24, 2011 / 9:28 PM / in 6 years

UPDATE 1-West Fraser Q3 falls on weak housing market

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Oct 24 (Reuters) - West Fraser Timber posted a sharp drop in third-quarter profit, as a weak U.S. housing market continued to hurt the Canadian lumber and wooden panels maker.

July-September earnings from continuing operations fell to C$6 million, or 14 Canadian cents per basic share, from C$49 million, or C$1.15 per basic share, a year ago.

Sales fell slightly to C$705 million.

“Lumber prices are expected to remain at or fall below current levels as low U.S. housing starts will continue to limit demand,” the company said in a statement.

Vancouver, British Columbia-based West Fraser, which also makes fibreboard, plywood, pulp, kraft paper and newsprint, said the pulp market weakened amid high global inventories.

Shares of the company closed at C$42.54 on Monday on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Viraj Nair)

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