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Ainsworth Lumber Co. has agreed to pay $457.5-million (U.S.) to buy wood-panel operations and a related power plant in Minnesota from Potlatch Corp. of Spokane, Wash. The acquisition of the panel manufacturing plants will increase Ainsworth's capacity to produce the plywood substitute known as oriented strandboard by 65 per cent to 3.3 billion square feet annually. Ainsworth, which is based in Vancouver, said the acquisition will be funded with cash on hand and new senior unsecured debt. ANS (TSX) rose 40 cents to $32.40.

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