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Press release from CNW Group

Norbord Reports Second Quarter 2012 Results

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Norbord Reports Second Quarter 2012 Results06:00 EDT Thursday, July 26, 2012Note:  Financial references in US dollars unless otherwise indicated.Q2 2012 HIGHLIGHTSEBITDA of $31 million - $21 million better than Q2 2011North Central benchmark OSB price averaged $235/Msf - 36% higher than Q2 2011Housing market one of few bright spots in US economy European panel prices holding - OSB, particleboard and MDF prices flat versus Q1 2012Maturing $240 million 2012 bonds refinanced with 6.25% senior notes due in 2015Best-ever mid-year safety performance - incident rate of just 0.46 YTDInverness, Scotland and South Molton, England mills received Norbord Safety Star certificationTORONTO, July 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Norbord Inc. (TSX: NBD, NBD.WT) today reported EBITDA of $31 million in the second quarter of 2012 compared to $10 million in the same quarter last year and $21 million in the first quarter of 2012.  North American operations generated EBITDA of $26 million in the quarter versus break-even last year and $14 million in the prior quarter.  European operations generated EBITDA of $9 million in the quarter versus $13 million last year and $11 million in the prior quarter.Norbord recorded earnings of $6 million or $0.14 per share in the second quarter of 2012 compared to earnings of $1 million or $0.03 per share in the same quarter last year and break-even earnings in the prior quarter.  Earnings in the second quarter of 2011 included a $7 million or $0.16 per share income tax recovery due to the recognition of a non-recurring income tax benefit.  Excluding the impact of this non-recurring item, the loss in the second quarter of 2011 was $6 million or $0.14 per share."We are finally seeing a more sustainable US housing market recovery and this is flowing through to our bottom line," said Barrie Shineton, President and CEO.  "North American benchmark OSB prices moved steadily higher through the quarter and we more than tripled our EBITDA result compared to the same quarter last year. Improving US housing activity, strong homebuilder backlogs and the lean supply chain suggest a positive OSB pricing environment through the rest of the year.""In Europe, our business has continued to perform well in spite of increasing economic uncertainty and I believe we will continue to generate solid results through the second half of the year."Market ConditionsJune year-to-date US housing starts and permits were 27% and 29% higher, respectively, than the same period in 2011.  More importantly for the OSB industry, US single family housing starts were 21% better versus last year.  Further, public homebuilders have been easily surpassing analysts' second quarter estimates with 30-50% year-over-year increases in net new orders and order backlogs as well as improving home prices.  Pro-dealers are experiencing similar increases in sales activity as they supply building materials to meet this growing demand.  Most expert forecasts for 2012 US housing starts are being adjusted upward and now range from 700,000 to 800,000, 15% to 30% higher than last year.In this firmer demand environment, the North American North Central benchmark OSB price rose throughout the second quarter - from $202 per thousand square feet (Msf) (7⁄16-inch basis) to $255 per Msf.  The North Central benchmark price averaged $235 per Msf in the second quarter, compared to $203 per Msf in the prior quarter and $173 per Msf in the same quarter last year.  In the South East region, where approximately 55% of Norbord's North American capacity is located, prices averaged $204 per Msf in the second quarter, compared to $190 per Msf in the prior quarter and $162 per Msf during the same quarter last year.  The spread between South East and North Central benchmark OSB prices was unusually wide in the second quarter, reflecting regional differences in the housing market recovery and in transportation availability.  Norbord expects this gap to narrow during the second half of the year.In Europe, panel markets continued to hold up well despite the backdrop of negative economic news.  In the second quarter, all panel prices were essentially flat compared to the prior quarter. OSB prices have come off their 2011 peak levels and were 13% lower compared to the same quarter last year. However, MDF and particleboard prices have improved 3% year-over-year.PerformanceIn North America, second quarter OSB shipment volumes increased 12% over last year as Norbord ran additional capacity to meet new home improvement customer commitments and built value-added products inventory in advance of the July 3rd Val-d'Or, Quebec mill indefinite curtailment. Norbord's operating OSB mills ran at approximately 95% of their capacity in the second quarter of 2012. Including the indefinitely closed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Jefferson, Texas, the North American operations ran at approximately 75% of capacity in the second quarter of 2012 compared to 65% in both the first quarter of 2012 and second quarter of 2011.In Europe, second quarter panel shipments were 4% lower than the prior year, but year-to-date shipments were consistent with the prior year.  Norbord's European mills produced at approximately 95% of estimated capacity in the first and second quarters of 2012, which reflects the 6% increase in stated panel capacity effective December 31, 2011.  This compares to 100% in the second quarter of 2011 under the previously stated capacity.Norbord's Margin Improvement Program (MIP) delivered $10 million in gains year-to-date.  Contributions to the MIP included improved production efficiencies, raw material usage reduction initiatives and a richer added-value product mix.Norbord's North American OSB cash production costs per unit decreased by 1% versus both last year and last quarter due to lower raw material usages and increased production volume resulting from continuing MIP initiatives.Capital investments totaled $4 million in the second quarters of both 2012 and 2011 and $3 million in the first quarter of 2012.  Norbord's 2012 capital investments are expected to total a modest $25 million and continue to focus on productivity improvement and manufacturing cost reduction projects with quick paybacks.Operating working capital was $64 million at quarter-end compared to $71 million in the prior quarter and $52 million in the prior year.  The quarter-over-quarter decrease is primarily due to increased accounts payable.  The year-over-year increase is primarily due to higher North American OSB prices and shipments volumes which increased accounts receivable.  Accounts receivable performance is in line with prior periods.Pro forma for the repayment of the $240 million 2012 debentures and amendments to its revolving bank lines subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord had unutilized liquidity of $328 million, comprised of $242 million in undrawn revolving bank lines and $86 million in cash and cash equivalents.  The Company's tangible net worth was $350 million and net debt to total capitalization on a book basis was 50%, well within bank covenants.DevelopmentsDuring the quarter, the Company issued $240 million in senior notes due in 2015 with a coupon of 6.25%.  The notes are comprised of two tranches. The first tranche consists of $165 million of senior secured notes that rank pari passu with the Company's existing 2017 senior secured notes and committed revolving bank lines. The second tranche consists of $75 million of senior unsecured notes. Subsequent to quarter-end, the Company used the proceeds to repay the $240 million 7.25% debentures due July 1, 2012.Subsequent to quarter-end, Norbord renewed its committed revolving bank lines, extending the maturity by one year and reducing the aggregate commitment by $25 million.  As a result, the Company now has a total aggregate commitment of $245 million which matures in May 2015.  All other material terms of the bank lines remain unchanged.As previously announced, Norbord indefinitely suspended production at its Val-d'Or, Quebec OSB mill effective July 3, 2012.  Approximately 120 employees were affected by this decision.  Prior to this announcement, the mill had, for the last five years, been operating in a partially curtailed mode.  Customers continue to be serviced without disruption.  The Company has not incurred any material one-time charges as a result of this decision.Additional InformationNorbord's Q2 2012 letter to shareholders, news release, management's discussion and analysis, consolidated unaudited financial statements and notes to the financial statements have been filed on SEDAR (www.sedar.com) and are available in the investor section of the Company's website at www.norbord.com.  Shareholders are encouraged to read this material.Conference CallNorbord will hold a conference call for analysts and institutional investors on Thursday, July 26, 2012 at 1:00 p.m. ET. The call will be broadcast live over the Internet via www.norbord.com and www.newswire.ca.  A replay number will be available approximately one hour after completion of the call and will be accessible until August 26, 2012 by dialing 1-888-203-1112 or 647-436-0148.  The passcode is 1680425. Audio playback and a written transcript will be available on the Norbord website.Norbord ProfileNorbord Inc. is an international producer of wood-based panels with assets of $1 billion, employing approximately 2,000 people at 13 plant locations in the United States, Europe and Canada. Norbord is one of the world's largest producers of oriented strand board (OSB). In addition to OSB, Norbord manufactures particleboard, medium density fibreboard (MDF) and related value-added products. Norbord is a publicly traded company listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NBD and NBD.WT.This news release contains forward-looking statements, as defined in applicable legislation, including statements related to our strategy, projects, plans, future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance. Often, but not always, words such as  "should," "believe," "forecast," "expect," "appear," "suggest," "will," "will not," "intend," "plan," "can," "may," and other expressions which are predictions of or indicate future events, trends or prospects and which do not relate to historical matters identify forward-looking statements.  Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Norbord to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.Although Norbord believes it has a reasonable basis for making these forward-looking statements, readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking information.  By its nature, forward-looking information involves numerous assumptions, inherent risks and uncertainties, both general and specific, which contribute to the possibility that the predictions, forecasts and other forward-looking statements will not occur.  Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated or implied by forward-looking statements include:  general economic conditions; risks inherent with product concentration; effects of competition and product pricing pressures; risks inherent with customer dependence; effects of variations in the price and availability of manufacturing inputs; risks inherent with a capital intensive industry; and other risks and factors described from time to time in filings with Canadian securities regulatory authorities.Except as required by applicable laws, Norbord does not undertake to update any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, or to publicly update or revise the above list of factors affecting this information.  See the "Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information" statement in the March 1, 2012 Annual Information Form and the cautionary statement contained in the "Forward-Looking Statements" section of the 2011 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated January 26, 2012 and Q2 2012 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 25, 2012.July 26, 2012To Our Shareholders,I'm pleased to report that our results continue to improve.  Norbord generated earnings of $0.14 per share on EBITDA of $31 million in the second quarter, a $10 million increase over the prior quarter and more than triple the same quarter last year.  This is our best quarterly financial performance since Q3 2007 (ignoring the unsustainable Q2 2010 spike) and reflects a rebound in demand for our North American OSB and a stronger price trend in the quarter. North American benchmark OSB prices in all regions increased steadily throughout the quarter - particularly North Central which averaged $235 per Msf, 36% higher than last year.  Norbord's shipments in the quarter reflected this healthier market environment, with our pro-dealer, home improvement and industrial customer volumes up 12% overall.Our European panel business continues to hold up well and delivered $9 million of EBITDA this quarter.  MDF and particleboard prices are firmer than this time last year, although OSB prices have come off their 2011 peak levels.  Our year-to-date panel shipments remain in line with the prior year.Investor reaction to the June refinancing of our maturing 2012 bonds has been positive.  The new 6.25% 2015 senior notes and the upgraded credit rating on our 2017 bonds will save Norbord $10 million in interest over the life of these bonds.  We disclosed, along with our Q2 results, that we have now extended our bank lines to May 2015.  With the bonds refinanced, the bank lines renewed and more than $300 million of liquidity, we are in strong financial shape and can comfortably support our operating and capital priorities going forward.It is my view that the long-awaited North American housing recovery is now underway.  Most housing-related indicators are positive and improving.  Year-to-date housing starts and permits are almost 30% higher than 2011.  The backlog of foreclosed homes is clearing out in an orderly fashion.  Home prices have stabilized and are turning up in almost all regional US markets.  And, publicly traded home builders report that they are scrambling to ramp up construction to match order backlogs that are 30-50% ahead of last year.  This upturn in housing activity is reflected in economists' recent forecasts.  Most are revising their housing starts number upward and estimates now range from 700,000 to 800,000 starts for 2012. Heading into the third quarter, our North American order files are strong and our mills are stretched.  Improving US housing activity, significant homebuilder backlogs and a lean supply chain suggest a continuing robust OSB pricing environment, although underutilized OSB capacity remains a risk. On a more cautious note, media headlines from Europe continue to paint a gloomy picture.  We are now beginning to see our UK panel exports to the Continent impacted by the weakening Euro and softening Continental demand.  However, UK domestic demand and prices remain stable, our panel mills are running at full capacity and I expect the recent solid results from our European operations to continue.Lastly, I am very proud of our safety achievements so far this year.  Our mills continue to deliver record safety performance with a year-to-date injury rate of just 0.46 - the best mid-year result in Norbord's history.  As well, our Inverness, Scotland and South Molton, England mills were both Safety Star certified during the quarter. I am pleased with our second quarter performance.  Our mills are operating at record productivity levels and manufacturing costs continue to come down.  Our stock price set a new 52-week high last week, reflecting the renewed optimism in the US housing sector.  I am positive about the rest of this year and I look forward to reporting more good news next quarter.Barrie Shineton,President & CEOThis letter includes forward-looking statements, as defined by applicable securities legislation including statements related to our strategy, projects, plans, future financial or operating performance and other statements that express management's expectations or estimates of future performance.  Often, but not always, forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of words such as "expect," "suggest," "support," "believe," "should," "potential," "likely," "would," or variations of such words and phrases or statements that certain actions "may," "could," "must," "would," "might," or "will" be undertaken, occur or be achieved.  Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of Norbord to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievement expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements.  See the cautionary language in the Forward-Looking Statements section of the 2011 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated January 26, 2012 and Q2 2012 Management's Discussion and Analysis dated July 25, 2012.Consolidated Balance Sheets      (US $ millions)  Jun 30 2012(unaudited)  Dec 31 2011Assets     Current assets       Cash and cash equivalents $        326 $           83  Accounts receivable            129           102  Tax receivable                 3               5  Inventory               99             88             557           278Non-current assets       Property, plant and equipment             769             787  Other assets                 1               5              770          792  $     1,327 $      1,070Liabilities and Shareholders' Equity     Current liabilities       Accounts payable and accrued liabilities $        164 $         162  Current portion of long-term debt            240             242              404              404Non-current liabilities       Long-term debt             432             196  Other long-term debt                80               69  Other liabilities               41               40  Deferred income taxes                64               61              617              366      Shareholders' equity            306           300  $     1,327 $      1,070Consolidated Statements of Earnings          (unaudited)Periods ended June 30 and July 2 (US $ millions, except per share information)  Q22012   Q22011 6 mos2012  6 mos2011Sales $    272 $      241$    525 $      494Cost of sales        (237)       (228)      (465)     (463)General and administrative expenses          (4)           (3)        (8)        (7)Earnings before interest, income tax and depreciation           31  10          52          24          Interest expense         (9)        (8)        (17)      (16)Earnings before income tax and depreciation           22              2          35              8          Depreciation          (13)         (13)        (26)         (27)Income tax (expense) recovery            (3)           12           (3)           18Earnings $         6 $          1$         6 $        (1)Earnings per common share             Basic and Diluted $   0.14 $     0.03$   0.14 $   (0.02)Consolidated Statements of Comprehensive Income         (unaudited)Periods ended June 30 and July 2 (US $ millions) Q22012  Q22011 6 mos2012  6 mos2011Earnings$           6 $              1$              6 $             (1)Other comprehensive income, net of tax          Foreign currency translation (loss) gain on foreign operations          (6)               1                  -  9  Net gain (loss) on hedge of net investment in foreign operations               2                1                  1                 (4)  Actuarial loss on post-employment obligation             (2)                 (2) (2)                -               (6) -                  (1) 5Comprehensive income$          - $              1$               5 $                4Consolidated Statements of Changes in Shareholders' Equity          (unaudited)Periods ended June 30 and July 2 (US $ millions)  Q22012  Q22011 6 mos2012  6 mos2011Share capital         Balance, beginning and end of period $    340 $      340$   340 $     340Contributed surplus         Balance, beginning of period $       44 $        42$      43 $       41Stock-based compensation             -               -              1              1Balance, end of period $       44 $        42$      44 $       42Retained earnings         Balance, beginning of period $     (82)$      (54)$  (82)$     (54)Earnings              6              1             6           (1)Other comprehensive income             (2)            (2)           (2)            - Balance, end of period $     (78)$      (55)$   (78)$     (55)Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income (Loss)       Balance, beginning of period $         4 $          7$       (1)$         4Other comprehensive income            (4)             2             1             5Balance, end of period $          -   $          9$          -   $         9Shareholders' equity $   306 $      336$    306 $     336Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows          (unaudited)Periods ended June 30 and July 2 (US $ millions)  Q22012  Q22011 6 mos2012  6 mos2011CASH PROVIDED BY (USED FOR):         Operating Activities         Earnings $       6 $        1$       6 $      (1)Items not affecting cash:           Depreciation         13          13         26           27  Deferred income tax           1        (12)           1        (18)Other items          (4)         (2)         (3)           3          16           -           30           11Net change in non-cash operating working capital balances           8            2       (34)        (43)Net change in tax receivable           1            1           2            2          25            3          (2)        (30)Investing Activities         Investment in property, plant and equipment          (3)         (1)          (6)         (9)Realized net investment hedge gain (loss)           1          (3)           4          (2)Other          -           (2)          -             -             (2)         (6)          (2)       (11)Financing Activities         Issue of debt       240           -         240           -  Accounts receivable securitization proceeds (repayments)           7          (2)         11             8Debt issue costs          (4)         (1)         (4)         (1)        243          (3)       247             7Cash and Cash Equivalents         Increase (decrease) during the period        266          (6)       243        (34)Balance, beginning of period          60          83         83        111Balance, end of period $  326 $      77$  326 $      77SOURCE: Norbord Inc.For further information: Contact: Heather Colpitts Manager, Corporate Affairs Tel. (416) 365-0705info@norbord.com