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West Fraser sees sales and earnings dip in Q4 but increase overall for 2018


February 13, 2019
By P&PC Staff

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February 13, 2018 – West Fraser has reported its results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2018, citing lower sales and earnings in the quarter but higher earnings and sales for the entire year compared to 2017.

In the fourth quarter, sales were $1.274 billion compared to $1.376 billion in Q4 2017. Earnings were $29 million, with basic EPS of $0.42, compared to earnings of $207 million and basic EPS of $2.66 in Q4 2017. Adjusted earnings were $43 million, with adjusted basic EPS of $0.63, compared to adjusted earnings of $201 million in Q4 2017, with adjusted basic EPS of $2.58. 

A quarterly cash dividend of $0.20 was declared for Q4 2018.

For 2018, West Fraser reported sales of $6.118 billion, which was $984 million or 19 per cent higher than 2017. Earnings for 2018 were $810 million, basic EPS of $10.88 per share, and adjusted earnings of $945 million with adjusted basic EPS of $12.70. Earnings for 2017 were $596 million.

The company reinvested $370 million through capital expenditure and returned $712 million of capital to shareholders through share buybacks and dividends.

“The fourth quarter was challenging on a number of fronts including soft lumber markets, difficult weather conditions in the U.S. South, production curtailments in British Columbia as well as planned and unplanned downtime,” says Ted Seraphim, CEO of West Fraser. “In spite of these challenges, in 2018 we reported the highest level of EBITDA in company history, continued deploying capital to our mills with a number of high return projects completed and maintained our balanced capital allocation strategy. We increased our dividend twice and executed $675 million of share buybacks while maintaining significant financial flexibility. Lumber markets have begun to recover in the first quarter of 2019 and we remain encouraged by the long term outlook for lumber as we focus on the activities that generate the best outcomes for all our stakeholders.”

Read the full West Fraser financial report.