Forest products company Tembec Inc. reported Thursday that its net loss soared to $47-million in the fourth quarter and to $82-million for the full year, partly due to a charge related to its recently idled pulp mill in Chetwynd, B.C.
The Montreal-based pulp, paper and lumber producer said it lost 47 cents per share for the quarter ended Sept. 29. That compared with a net loss of 17 cents per share or $17-million in the comparable prior-year period.
The quarter included a $50-million non-cash impairment charge due to the idling in September of the pulp mill in Chetwynd due to weak market conditions. A total of 115 employees work at the mill, which Tembec purchased in 2002.
The high-yield pulp produced at the mill is used in printing and writing papers, paperboard, and tissue and towelling. Production from Chetwynd, which had an annual capacity of 240,000 tonnes, was shipped primarily to Asia.
Tembec’s sales in the quarter increased 5.2 per cent to $443-million, from $421-million in the year-ago period.
Adjusted pre-tax operating earnings (EBITDA) was $23-million compared with $19-million in the fourth quarter of 2011 and $27-million in the third quarter.
For the full year, Tembec lost $82-million or 82 cents per share, compared with a loss of $5-million or five cents per share in 2011. Sales were flat at $1.7-billion. Adjusted EBITDA decreased to $64-million from $98-million in the prior year.
Tembec said the fourth-quarter results were in line with expectations, with improving lumber profitability helping to offset the negative impact of difficult paper pulp markets.
Tembec is an integrated forest products company, with operations in North America and France and about $2-billion in annual sales. It has some 4,000 employees, and operates market pulp, paper and wood product manufacturing units, and produces silvichemicals from by-products of its pulping process and specialty chemicals.
Tembec markets its products worldwide and has sales offices in Canada, the United States, China, South Korea and Japan.
It was created in 1973 after a closed paper mill in Temiscaming, Que., was purchased from a large multinational company.