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May 15, 2018

Conifex buying U.S. sawmills for $258M to increase capacity by 50%

Lumber prices hit all-time highs amid trade spat, shipping delays

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VANCOUVER -- Conifex Timber Inc. (CFF.TO) says it has reached an agreement with Blue Wolf Capital Partners to buy sawmills in Florida and Arkansas that will increase its lumber production capacity by about 50 per cent to 1.1 billion board feet.

The Vancouver-based company says it will pay about $193.1 million in cash for the Suwannee sawmill in Cross City, Fla., and Caddo River sawmill in Glenwood, Ark., plus $64.4 million in shares, the net working capital of the current operator, and warrants.

The company says the two mills have a combined dimension lumber capacity of 370 million board feet and will triple its U.S. southeast capacity.

Conifex says the mills have seen recent upgrades and modernization, and are complimentary to its sawmill in El Dorado, Ark.

The purchase comes as lumber producers benefit from elevated prices buoyed by rising U.S. housing starts, tight supply and softwood lumber duties applied by the United States government.

Canfor Corp. (CFP.TO) announced in February that it was also expanding capacity in the U.S. southeast with the construction of a $155-million sawmill in Washington, Ga.