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Softwood lumber is pictured along the Fraser River in Richmond, B.C., on April 25, 2017.JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Canfor Corp. reported a first-quarter profit of $427.8 million compared with a loss a year ago, boosted by record results in its lumber business and improved results in its pulp and paper operations.

The Vancouver-based company says the strength in global lumber market fundamentals has pushed benchmark lumber prices to new highs.

It says the unprecedented pricing substantially outweighed higher market-related log costs in Western Canada, combined with moderately lower North American shipment volumes.

Canfor says its profit amounted to $3.42 per diluted share for the quarter ended March 31 compared with a loss of $70.0 million or 56 cents per share in the same quarter last year.

Sales totalled $1.94 billion, up from $1.17 billion in the first three months of 2020.

On an adjusted basis, Canfor says it earned $3.47 per diluted share in its most recent quarter compared with an adjusted loss of 45 cents per share a year earlier.

“Following the significant volatility experienced last year as a result of the pandemic, we are very pleased to see the sustained strength in global lumber markets continuing into 2021, as well as a welcome improvement in pulp market conditions,” Canfor chief executive Don Kayne said in a statement.

“Our solid operating performance across all our regions enabled us to capitalize on these favourable market fundamentals and set record-high operating earnings. With the pricing outlook in the second quarter looking very positive across all of our businesses, we will be looking to take full advantage of these favourable market conditions.”

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