May 2, 2008 / 11:33 AM / 10 years ago

Canfor loss widens as tough lumber times continue

TORONTO (Reuters) - North American lumber producer Canfor Corp (CFP.TO) posted a wider first-quarter loss on Friday, citing a big devaluation in its log inventory and a foreign exchange loss.

Sales also dipped as the downturn in the U.S. housing market and an export tax on lumber shipments continued to hurt the Canadian company.

Canfor said it lost C$85.4 million, or 60 Canadian cents per share in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a loss of C$42.7 million, or 30 Canadian cents per share in the first quarter of 2007.

Sales were C$648.5 million, down from C$850.6 million a year ago.

Weighing on the results were a C$42-million log inventory devaluation, which chopped C$29.0-million from the quarterly earnings, and a C$10.1-million after-tax loss related to the strong Canadian dollar.

Canfor announced last month that it was again cutting production at its Canadian sawmills amid fading hope that lumber markets would improve any time soon. In January it also trimmed plywood and OSB production.

“This decision is consistent with our determination to ensure that our production matches the changing demand level of our markets,” Canfor Chief Executive Jim Shepard said in a statement.

The company, whose U.S. sawmills have also trimmed production, said it operated at well below capacity at both its lumber and panel operations in the first quarter.

($1=$1.02 Canadian)

Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; editing by Renato Andrade

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