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Press release from Marketwire

West Fraser ("WFT") Announces Second Quarter Results

Thursday, July 19, 2012

West Fraser ("WFT") Announces Second Quarter Results17:01 EDT Thursday, July 19, 2012VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - July 19, 2012) -West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. (TSX:WFT) today reported earnings for the second quarter of 2012 of $27 million and earnings per share of $0.63 on sales of $774 million. For the first half of 2012, earnings were $10 million and earnings per share were $0.24, on sales of $1.5 billion.These results compare with previous periods as follows:($ million except earnings per share ("EPS"))20122011YTDQ2Q1YTDQ2Sales1,4557746811,407720EBITDA1101821914262Operating earnings2446(22)5722Earnings from continuing operations1027(17)3111Adjusted earnings from continuing operations23041(11)35(5)Adjusted basic EPS from continuing operations20.700.96(0.26)0.82(0.12)Earnings after discontinued operations1027(17)2910Basic EPS after discontinued operations ($)0.240.63(0.39)0.680.24Diluted EPS after discontinued operations ($)0.240.63(0.39)0.68(0.09)1 In this News Release, reference is made to EBITDA (defined as operating earnings plus amortization). Management of the Company believes that, in addition to earnings, EBITDA is a useful performance indicator and is a useful measure of cash available prior to debt service, capital expenditures and income taxes. Reference is also made to Adjusted earnings (loss) from continuing operations (calculated as set out in the table described in footnote 2) and Adjusted basic EPS (collectively, with EBITDA, "these measures"). None of these measures is a generally accepted earnings measure under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") and none has a standardized meaning prescribed by IFRS. Investors are cautioned that these measures should not be considered as an alternative to earnings, earnings per share or cash flow, as determined in accordance with IFRS. As there is no standardized method of calculating any of these measures, our method of calculating each of them may differ from the methods used by other entities and, accordingly, our use of any of these measures may not be directly comparable to similarly titled measures used by other entities.2 Refer to the table titled "Earnings Adjustments for Certain Non-Operational Items" in Management's Discussion and Analysis of the second quarter 2012 results for details of adjustments.Operational ResultsIn the quarter the lumber segment generated operating earnings of $34 million and EBITDA of $53 million. Lumber prices rallied strongly as improved U.S. demand combined with continuing Asian demand for Canadian lumber. Higher lumber prices also triggered a reduction in duties (from 15% to 10%) charged on softwood lumber exported to the U.S. from B.C. and Alberta for the month of June 2012.The panels segment, which includes plywood, LVL and MDF, generated operating earnings in the quarter of $8 million and EBITDA of $12 million. Improved plywood and MDF prices were the main contributors. Pulp and paper operations generated operating earnings of $14 million and EBITDA of $26 million. The average NBSK benchmark price for the quarter increased to US$900 per tonne from US$870 in the previous quarter but reduced NBSK production and shipments and increased chemical costs resulted in a marginal decline in operating earnings compared with the previous quarter.Outlook We expect results from our lumber and panels businesses to improve if U.S. new home construction continues to recover. Despite some encouraging signs, the current recovery still appears to be fragile and could be set back by adverse global economic events. The immediate outlook for our NBSK pulp business is negative as additional supply coming onstream will require market adjustments before prices will recover. Hank Ketcham, West Fraser's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are encouraged by this quarter's results and we expect to see continuing operational improvements as a result of our extensive capital program and the efforts of all of our people. We are well positioned to take advantage of the anticipated recovery." Softwood Lumber Agreement DisputeIn early 2011 the United States initiated an arbitration with Canada under the 2006 Softwood Lumber Agreement over its concern that British Columbia has misapplied or altered its timber pricing rules. An arbitration hearing took place in the first quarter. On July 18, 2012 the arbitration panel unanimously dismissed the U.S. claims in their entirety.The Company West Fraser is an integrated wood products company producing lumber, wood chips, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp and newsprint. The Company has operations in western Canada and the southern United States.Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains historical information, descriptions of current circumstances and statements about potential future developments. The latter, which are forward-looking statements are included under the heading "Outlook", and are presented to provide reasonable guidance to the reader but their accuracy depends on a number of assumptions which are subject to various risks and uncertainties some of which are described under this heading. Actual outcomes and results will depend on a number of factors including those matters described in the 2011 annual Management's Discussion & Analysis under "Risks and Uncertainties", and may differ from those anticipated or projected. Accordingly, readers should exercise caution in relying upon forward-looking statements and the Company undertakes no obligation to publicly revise them to reflect subsequent events or circumstances, except as required by applicable securities laws.Management's Discussion & Analysis ("MD&A") The Company's MD&A for the second quarter of 2012 is available on the Company's website: www.westfraser.com and on the System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval at www.sedar.com under the Company's profile.Conference Call Investors are invited to listen to the quarterly conference call on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 8:30 a.m. Pacific Time (11:30 a.m. Eastern Time) by dialing 1-800-952-6845 (toll-free North America). The call may also be accessed through West Fraser's website at www.westfraser.com. A presentation summarizing the second quarter results will also be available on the Company's website.West Fraser shares trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol: "WFT".West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets(in millions of Canadian dollars - unaudited)June 30December 3120122011AssetsCurrent assetsCash and short-term investments$79.5$67.8Receivables272.0266.7Income taxes receivable-4.4Inventories (note 3)394.5397.8Prepaid expenses21.58.6767.5745.3Property, plant and equipment941.5935.7Timber licences482.0490.1Goodwill and other intangibles332.3336.6Other assets26.529.6$2,549.8$2,537.3LiabilitiesCurrent liabilitiesPayables and accrued liabilities$276.2$273.9Income taxes payable5.1-Reforestation and decommissioning40.941.0Current portion of long-term debt (note 4)0.30.3322.5315.2Long-term debt (note 4)306.6306.3Other liabilities (note 5)352.4289.0Deferred income taxes124.7143.81,106.21,054.3Shareholders' equityShare capital601.5600.9Accumulated other comprehensive earnings(4.5)(5.5)Retained earnings846.6887.61,443.61,483.0$2,549.8$2,537.3Number of Common shares and Class B Common shares outstanding at July 19, 2012 was 42,859,155.West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.Condensed Consolidated Statement of Changes in Equity(in millions of Canadian dollars - unaudited)April 1 to June 30January 1 to June 302012201120122011Retained earningsBalance - beginning of period$851.0$987.1$887.6$942.9Actuarial loss on employee future benefits(25.3)(39.2)(39.2)(7.9)Earnings for the period26.910.310.229.2Dividends(6.0)(5.9)(12.0)(11.9)Balance - end of period$846.6$952.3$846.6$952.3Accumulated other comprehensive earningsBalance - beginning of period$(10.4)$(14.9)$(5.5)$(9.6)Translation gain (loss) on foreign operations5.9(0.8)1.0(6.1)Balance - end of period$(4.5)$(15.7)$(4.5)$(15.7)Share capitalBalance - beginning of period$601.4$600.6$600.9$600.5Issuance of Common shares0.10.10.60.2Balance - end of period$601.5$600.7$601.5$600.7Shareholders' equity$1,443.6$1,537.3$1,443.6$1,537.3West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.Condensed Consolidated Statements of Earnings and Comprehensive Earnings(in millions of Canadian dollars - unaudited)April 1 to June 30January 1 to June 302012201120122011Sales$774.4$719.7$1,455.4$1,406.7Costs and expensesCost of products sold516.0509.21,011.2941.5Freight and other distribution costs126.4123.2243.4228.8Export taxes13.912.327.027.9Amortization36.240.476.585.1Selling, general and administration26.627.152.153.8Equity-based compensation9.1(14.1)21.013.1728.2698.11,431.21,350.2Operating earnings46.221.624.256.5Interest expense(5.1)(5.4)(9.9)(10.2)Exchange gain (loss) on long-term debt(6.2)1.5(0.3)9.0Other income (expense) (note 7)0.4-0.8(3.6)Earnings from continuing operations before tax provision35.317.714.851.7Tax provision (note 8)(8.4)(6.3)(4.6)(20.4)Earnings from continuing operations26.911.410.231.3Earnings from discontinued operations (note 9)-(1.1)-(2.1)Earnings$26.9$10.3$10.2$29.2Earnings per share (dollars) (note 10)Basic from continuing operations$0.63$0.27$0.24$0.73Diluted from continuing operations$0.63$(0.07)$0.24$0.73Basic after discontinued operations$0.63$0.24$0.24$0.68Diluted after discontinued operations$0.63$(0.09)$0.24$0.68Comprehensive earningsEarnings$26.9$10.3$10.2$29.2Other comprehensive earningsTranslation gain (loss) on foreign operations5.9(0.8)1.0(6.1)Actuarial loss on employee future benefits(33.5)(52.0)(52.0)(10.5)Tax on actuarial loss on employee future benefits8.212.812.82.6Comprehensive earnings$7.5$(29.7)$(28.0)$15.2West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.Condensed Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows(in millions of Canadian dollars - unaudited)April 1 to June 30January 1 to June 302012201120122011Operating activitiesEarnings from continuing operations$26.9$11.4$10.2$31.3AdjustmentsAmortization36.240.476.585.1Interest expense5.15.49.910.2Exchange loss (gain) on long-term debt6.2(1.5)0.3(9.0)Tax provision8.46.34.620.4Income taxes paid(5.9)(6.9)(1.6)(68.2)Reforestation and decommissioning obligations(3.9)(3.7)8.17.6Employee future benefits expense9.08.718.519.0Contributions to employee future benefit plans(9.4)(6.5)(13.9)(9.1)Other-0.7(1.3)(0.4)Changes in non-cash working capitalReceivables15.2(0.2)(34.5)(29.7)Inventories83.5125.13.517.3Prepaid expenses(9.4)(5.5)(12.9)(10.1)Payables and accrued liabilities(19.1)(58.5)(1.9)(5.8)Cash flows from operating activities142.8115.265.558.6Financing activitiesRepayment of long-term debt--(0.3)(0.3)Proceeds from (repayment of) operating loans(56.1)(10.9)0.2(14.6)Interest paid(8.7)(8.3)(9.3)(9.9)Dividends(6.0)(5.9)(12.0)(11.9)Other0.2-0.5-Cash flows from financing activities(70.6)(25.1)(20.9)(36.7)Investing activitiesAdditions to capital assets(33.4)(48.7)(75.2)(68.5)Proceeds from Green Transformation Program (note 11)24.313.439.920.9Proceeds from disposal of capital assets0.2-1.70.8Other0.10.80.71.2Cash flows from investing activities(8.8)(34.5)(32.9)(45.6)Change in cash from continuing operations63.455.611.7(23.7)Change in cash from discontinued operations (note 9)-(2.6)-(3.0)Cash - beginning of period16.181.067.8160.7Cash - end of period$79.5$134.0$79.5$134.0West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. Notes to Condensed Consolidated Interim Financial Statements(figures are in millions of dollars except where indicated - unaudited)1. Nature of operationsWest Fraser is an integrated wood products company producing lumber, wood chips, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp and newsprint and is listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbol WFT. Its executive office is located at 858 Beatty Street, Suite 501, Vancouver, British Columbia. The Company was formed by articles of amalgamation under the Business Corporations Act (British Columbia) and is registered in British Columbia, Canada. 2. Basis of presentation and statement of complianceThese condensed consolidated interim financial statements have been prepared in accordance with International Accounting Standard 34 Interim Financial Reporting as issued by the International Accounting Standards Board and using the same accounting policies and methods of their application as the December 31, 2011 annual financial statements. These condensed consolidated interim financial statements should be read in conjunction with the Company's 2011 annual financial statements.3. InventoriesInventories at June 30, 2012 were written down by $3.9 million (March 31, 2012 - $19.8 million; December 31, 2011 - $14.9 million; June 30, 2011 - $8.6 million) to reflect net realizable value being lower than cost.4. Long-term debt and operating loansLong-term debtJune 30, 2012December 31, 2011US$300 million senior notes due October 2014; interest at 5.2%$305.4$305.1Note payable due in installments to 2020; interest at 5.5%2.32.5307.7307.6Less:Current portion(0.3)(0.3)Deferred financing costs(0.8)(1.0)$306.6$306.3Operating loans The Company has $530 million in revolving lines of credit, of which nil was drawn as at June 30, 2012 (December 31, 2011 - nil). Deferred financing costs of $5.1 million are included in other assets (December 31, 2011 - $5.7 million). As at June 30, 2012, letters of credit in the amount of $35.5 million have been issued under these facilities. The $500 million committed facility, the $25 million demand line of credit facility dedicated to letters of credit and the US$300 million senior notes are secured by the Company's assets. A $5 million line of credit, which is available to a joint venture, is secured by the joint venture's current assets. 5. Other liabilitiesJune 30, 2012December 31, 2011Post-retirement$232.3$177.9Reforestation77.870.5Decommissioning15.814.6Other26.526.0$352.4$289.06. Employee future benefitsThe Company maintains defined benefit and defined contribution pension plans covering a majority of its employees. The defined benefit plans provide pension benefits based either on length of service or on earnings and length of service. Total pension expense for the defined benefit plans is $7.9 million for the three months ended June 30, 2012 (three months ended June 30, 2011 - $7.3 million) and $16.9 million for the six months ended June 30, 2012 (six months ended June 30, 2011 - $15.6 million). The Company also provides group life insurance, medical and extended health benefits to certain employee groups. The status of the defined benefit pension plans and other benefit plans, in aggregate, is as follows:June 30, 2012 December 31, 2011Projected benefit obligations$(1,164.2)$(1,097.8)Fair value of plan assets948.6938.8Deficit$(215.6)$(159.0)Represented byPension surplus1$16.7$18.9Post-retirement obligations2(232.3)(177.9)$(215.6)$(159.0)1 Included in other assets.2 Included in other liabilities.The significant assumptions used to determine the period-end benefit obligations are as follows:June 30, 2012March 31, 2012December 31, 2011Discount rate on obligation4.75%4.75%5.00%Expected rate of return on plan assets6.50%6.50%6.50%Rate of increase in future compensation3.50%3.50%3.50%The change in the discount rate on obligations and the difference between the actual rate of return and the expected rate of return on plan assets generated an actuarial loss on employee future benefits, included in comprehensive earnings, as follows:April 1 to June 30January 1 to June 302012201120122011Actuarial loss on employee future benefits$(33.5)$(52.0)$(52.0)$(10.5)Income tax on actuarial loss on employee future benefits8.212.812.82.6$(25.3)$(39.2)$(39.2)$(7.9)7. Other income (expense)April 1 to June 30January 1 to June 302012201120122011Foreign exchange gain (loss) - net$1.3$(0.9)$(1.1)$(5.3)Gain on asset sales0.2-1.10.1Other - net(1.1)0.90.81.6$0.4$-$0.8$(3.6)8. Tax provisionThe Company's effective tax rate on earnings from continuing operations is as follows:April 1 to June 3020122011Amount%Amount%Income taxes at statutory rates$(8.8)(25.0)$(4.7)(26.5)Non-taxable amounts(2.6)(7.3)3.922.0Rate differentials between jurisdictions and on specified activities(1.2)(3.4)1.910.7Recognized (unrecognized) tax assets5.214.8(5.1)(28.8)Other(1.0)(2.8)(2.3)(13.0)Tax provision$(8.4)(23.7)$(6.3)(35.6)January 1 to June 3020122011Amount%Amount%Income taxes at statutory rates$(3.7)(25.0)$(13.7)(26.5)Non-taxable amounts(3.4)(22.9)(1.2)(2.4)Rate differentials between jurisdictions and on specified activities(0.3)(2.0)1.63.2Recognized (unrecognized) tax assets3.725.0(4.7)(9.2)Other(0.9)(6.1)(2.4)(4.6)Tax provision$(4.6)(31.0)$(20.4)(39.5)9. Discontinued operation The Company permanently closed its linerboard and kraft paper mill, located in Kitimat, B.C., in January 2010 and the windup was substantially completed in December 2011. 10. Earnings per share Basic earnings per share is calculated based on earnings available to Common shareholders, as set out below, using the weighted average number of Common shares and Class B Common shares outstanding. Diluted earnings per share is calculated based on earnings available to Common shareholders adjusted to remove the actual share option expense (recovery) charged to earnings and after deducting a notional charge for share option expense assuming the use of the equity settled method, as set out below. The diluted weighted average number of shares is calculated using the treasury stock method. When earnings available to Common shareholders for diluted earnings per share are greater than earnings available to Common shareholders for basic earnings per share, the calculation is anti-dilutive and diluted earnings per share are deemed to be the same as basic earnings per share.April 1 to June 3020122011From continuing operationsAfter discontinued operationsFrom continuing operationsAfter discontinued operationsEarningsBasic$26.9$26.9$11.4$10.3Share option expense (recovery)7.77.7(14.0)(14.0)Equity settled share option adjustment(0.2)(0.2)(0.3)(0.3)Diluted$34.4$34.4$(2.9)$(4.0)Weighted average number of sharesBasic42,856,51542,856,51542,838,61942,838,619Share options340,593340,593534,216534,216Diluted43,197,10843,197,10843,372,83543,372,835Earnings per share (dollars)Basic$0.63$0.63$0.27$0.24Diluted$0.63$0.63$(0.07)$(0.09)January 1 to June 3020122011From continuing operationsAfter discontinued operationsFrom continuing operationsAfter discontinued operationsEarningsBasic$10.2$10.2$31.3$29.2Share option expense14.914.98.88.8Equity settled share option adjustment(2.2)(2.2)(2.5)(2.5)Diluted$22.9$22.9$37.6$35.5Weighted average number of sharesBasic42,853,52742,853,52742,837,38142,837,381Share options377,296377,296555,526555,526Diluted43,230,82342,230,82343,392,90743,392,907Earnings per share (dollars)Basic$0.24$0.24$0.73$0.68Diluted$0.24$0.24$0.73$0.6811. Green Transformation Program In 2009 the Government of Canada confirmed an allocation of credits totalling $88.4 million to the Company under the Pulp and Paper Green Transformation Program (the "GT Program"). The GT Program provides funding for capital projects that improve the energy efficiency or environmental performance of Canadian pulp and paper mills. The credits were fully utilized by the Company. For the six months ended June 30, 2012, the Company received $39.9 million under the GT Program (year ended December 31, 2011 - $36.9 million; year ended December 31, 2010 - $1.6 million). At June 30, 2012, $10.0 million is included in accounts receivable related to expenditures under the GT Program.12. Segmented informationLumberPanelsPulp &paperCorporate& otherConsolidatedApril 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012Sales at market pricesTo external customers$453.6$112.2$208.6$-$774.4To other segments17.91.7--$471.5$113.9$208.6$-EBITDA1$53.2$12.2$26.4$(9.4)$82.4Amortization(19.7)(3.9)(12.0)(0.6)(36.2)Operating earnings33.58.314.4(10.0)46.2Interest expense(2.9)(0.8)(1.4)-(5.1)Exchange loss on long-term debt---(6.2)(6.2)Other income (expense)(0.8)0.21.7(0.7)0.4Earnings from continuing operations before tax provision$29.8$7.7$14.7$(16.9)$35.3April 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011Sales at market pricesTo external customers$414.3$94.2$211.2$-$719.7To other segments 23.52.2--$437.8$96.4$211.2$-EBITDA1$11.3$(1.0)$38.2$13.5$62.0Amortization(19.1)(3.8)(16.9)(0.6)(40.4)Operating earnings(7.8)(4.8)21.312.921.6Interest income (expense)(3.2)(0.8)(1.6)0.2(5.4)Exchange gain on long-term debt---1.51.5Other income (expense)(0.9)-1.1(0.2)-Earnings from continuing operations before tax provision $ (11.9) $ (5.6) $ 20.8 $ 14.4 $ 17.7LumberPanelsPulp &paperCorporate& otherConsolidatedJanuary 1, 2012 to June 30, 2012Sales at market pricesTo external customers$832.8$215.4$407.2$-$1,455.4To other segments36.53.4--$869.3$218.8$407.2$-EBITDA1$47.0$17.6$56.7$(20.6)$100.7Amortization(42.0)(8.0)(25.3)(1.2)(76.5)Operating earnings5.09.631.4(21.8)24.2Interest expense(5.4)(1.6)(2.9)-(9.9)Exchange loss on long-term debt---(0.3)(0.3)Other income (expense)0.70.20.1(0.2)0.8Earnings from continuing operations before tax provision$0.3$8.2$28.6$(22.3)$14.8January 1, 2011 to June 30, 2011Sales at market pricesTo external customers$804.0$182.8$419.9$-$1,406.7To other segments45.04.5--$849.0$187.3$419.9$-EBITDA1$66.5$2.6$85.1$(12.6)$141.6Amortization(41.4)(7.7)(34.7)(1.3)(85.1)Operating earnings25.1(5.1)50.4(13.9)56.5Interest income (expense)(5.8)(1.6)(3.0)0.2(10.2)Exchange gain on long-term debt---9.09.0Other income (expense)(3.4)(0.2)(0.7)0.7(3.6)Earnings from continuing operations before tax provision $ 15.9 $ (6.9) $ 46.7 $ (4.0) $ 51.71Non GAAP measure:EBITDA is defined as operating earnings plus amortization.The geographic distribution of external sales is as follows:April 1 to June 30January 1 to June 302012201120122011United States$374.9$319.2$692.6$659.6Canada179.8172.4349.3328.4China136.0131.5252.0235.4Other Asia58.166.3107.0121.0Other25.630.354.562.3$774.4$719.7$1,455.4$1,406.71. Sales distribution is based on the location of product delivery by the Company.13. Contingency On January 18, 2011 the United States initiated arbitration with Canada under the Softwood Lumber Agreement ("SLA") over its concern that the province of British Columbia ("B.C.") has misapplied or altered its timber pricing rules and as a result has charged too low a price for certain timber harvested on public lands in the B.C. interior. In August 2011 the United States filed a detailed statement of case with the arbitration panel and the parties exchanged pleadings in the fourth quarter of 2011. A hearing before the arbitration panel took place in February 2012.On July 18, 2012 the arbitration panel unanimously dismissed the U.S. claims in their entirety.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Larry HughesWest Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.Vice-President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer(604) 895-2700ORRodger HutchinsonWest Fraser Timber Co. Ltd.Vice-President, Corporate Controller(604) 895-2700(604) 681-6061 (FAX)www.westfraser.com