VANCOUVER, British Columbia, March 22, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Western Forest Products Inc. (TSX: WEF) (“Western” or the “Company”) announced today that effective March 23, 2020 it will curtail its manufacturing facilities currently operating in British Columbia due to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on operating conditions. The planned curtailment is scheduled for up to one-week. During this period the Company will re-evaluate business and operating conditions to determine when these manufacturing operations will resume. Packaging and shipping of lumber products will continue to meet customer requirements. The ongoing curtailments at the Company’s Cowichan Bay and Ladysmith sawmills are expected to continue into the second quarter due to limited log supply and weak market demand.

Western will also take steps to minimize its planned capital expenditures in 2020. The Company plans to incur only safety, environmental and committed capital expenditures in the near-term. Going forward discretionary capital will remain on hold until there is greater operational certainty.  

“The health and safety of our employees remains our top priority” said Don Demens, President and Chief Executive Officer. “Western has taken steps to mitigate potential exposure to COVID-19 throughout our operations by implementing strict health and safety protocols. The decision to temporarily curtail manufacturing operations in British Columbia is necessary as we respond to the evolving COVID-19 situation. We will continue to monitor market conditions and government directions in the jurisdictions where we operate and adjust our business as circumstances change.”

About Western Forest Products Inc.

Western is an integrated forest products company building a margin-focused log and lumber business to compete successfully in global softwood markets. With operations and employees located primarily on the coast of British Columbia and Washington State, Western is a premier supplier of high-value, specialty forest products to worldwide markets. Western has a lumber capacity in excess of 1.1 billion board feet from eight sawmills and four remanufacturing facilities. The Company sources timber from its private lands, long-term licenses, First Nations arrangements, and market purchases. Western supplements its production through a wholesale program providing customers with a comprehensive range of specialty products.

Forward-looking Statements

This press release contains statements that may constitute forward-looking statements under the applicable securities laws. Readers are cautioned against placing undue reliance on forward-looking statements. All statements herein, other than statements of historical fact, may be forward-looking statements and can be identified by the use of words such as “may”, “will”, “expect”, and similar references to future periods. Forward-looking statements in this news release include, but are not limited to, statements relating to the length of time of any curtailment, the expected timing to resume operations, future capital expenditures and strategies and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although such statements reflect Western management’s current reasonable beliefs, expectations and assumptions, there can be no assurance that forward-looking statements are accurate, and actual outcomes, results and performance may materially vary. Many factors could cause our actual results or performance to be materially different including: the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic; general economic conditions; the Company’s ability to export its products; international demand for the Company’s products; changes in laws, regulations or public policy affecting the forest industry; and other factors referenced under the “Risks and Uncertainties” section of Western’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis in Western’s 2019 Annual Report dated February 11, 2020, which is available on Western’s website at www.westernforest.com. The foregoing list is not exhaustive, as other factors could adversely affect Western’s actual results and performance. Forward looking statements are based only on information currently available to Western and refer only as of the date hereof. Except as required by law, Western undertakes no obligation to update forward-looking statements.

For further information, please contact:

Media Inquiries:
Babita Khunkhun
Senior Director, Communications
(604) 220-4923
Investor Inquiries:
Stephen Williams
Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer
(604) 648-4500