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Norbord posts profit on rising U.S. demand for wood panels

Norbord Inc. CEO Barrie Shineton attributed higher QSB prices to an accelerating housing recovery in the U.S.

Fernando Morales/The Globe and Mail

Norbord Inc. says it had a $28-million profit in the third quarter, a sharp contrast to the year-earlier loss for the Toronto-based wood-panel manufacturer.

The company attributed the improvement to stronger demand from the U.S. home construction industry, a major consumer of the oriented strand board produced by Norbord.

Norbord's profit for the three months ended Sept. 30 amounted to 61 cents per diluted share of net income, which contrasted with a loss of $1-million or two cents per share a year earlier.

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Revenue improved to $302-million from $242-million.

"This positive trend is due entirely to stronger demand from U.S. new home construction that pushed North American OSB prices sharply higher this quarter," said Norbord chief executive Barrie Shineton.

"While prices have declined recently, they are still at very robust levels. The housing recovery is accelerating, consumer spending is picking up and both are key to a U.S. economic recovery."

"All of this suggests that OSB demand will continue to improve over the next several years," Mr. Shineton said.

He added that Norbord's panel business in Europe had a positive quarter, despite the economic challenges facing the European Union.

About 55 per cent of Norbord's North American manufacturing capacity is currently in the U.S. southeast region. Production at a plant in Val-d'Or, Que., was curtailed indefinitely in July.

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