West Fraser Sells Off Two Canadian Lumber Mills

Industry News,

Originally Published by: HBS Dealer — September 25, 2023
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West Fraser Timber Co., one of North America’s largest lumber and engineered wood product producers, has signed an agreement to sell its Quesnel River Pulp mill in Quesnel, British Columbia and its Slave Lake Pulp mill in Slave Lake, Alberta to Atlas Holding. 

West Fraser operates more than 60 facilities in North America and Europe.

Combined total cash proceeds from the sale are U.S.$120 million, West Fraser reported.

Atlas owns and operates several pulp, paper, and wood products businesses in Canada and the United States.

The agreement includes related woodlands operations and timber holdings in Alberta and a long-term fiber supply agreement for the Quesnel River Pulp facility.

Upon closing of the transaction, the Quesnel River and Slave Lake pulp mills will be operated by Millar Western Forest Products (Millar Western), which joined the global Atlas family of manufacturing and distribution businesses in 2017. 

“We believe this transaction provides these two great assets and teams a strong strategic future while allowing West Fraser to focus our resources on our objective to be the premier wood building products company in North America,” said Ray Ferris, West Fraser president and CEO. “Atlas Holdings and Millar Western bring deep experience in the pulp sector, and we look forward to continuing to work together as a key fiber supplier to Quesnel River Pulp.”

Millar Western is a more than 100-year-old Canadian forest products company headquartered in Edmonton with existing pulp mill operations in Alberta, establishing a strong foundation and a bright future for the Quesnel River and Slave Lake pulp mills.

“This transaction will provide the dedicated and skilled teams at Quesnel River and Slave Lake with a solid future,” said David Anderson, CEO of Millar Western. ”Our team intends to continue investing in these high-quality mills and we look forward to collectively strengthening our product offerings and value proposition to the global BCTMP marketplace.”

The transaction is anticipated to close following the successful completion of customary regulatory reviews and satisfaction of customary closing conditions. West Fraser said it will provide an update during its third quarter results conference call.

 “Millar Western is highly respected as a leader in wood products in the region and beyond and we look forward to welcoming the Quesnel River and Slave Lake mills to the Atlas family of companies,” said Atlas Partner Neil Mahajan.

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, West Fraser operates more than 60 facilities in Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Europe.

Headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut and founded in 2002, Atlas and its affiliates own and operate 27 companies, which employ more than 50,000 associates across 300 facilities worldwide.