EACOM Timber Corporation announces its fourth quarter and year end results

MONTREAL and VANCOUVER, March 18, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - EACOM Timber Corporation (TSXV: ETR) ("EACOM", or the "Company") is pleased to announce its fourth quarter and year end results for the three and twelve-month periods ended December 31, 2012.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • EACOM recorded a positive adjusted EBITDA of $3.4 million in the fourth quarter, and $2.5 million in 2012
  • EACOM completed capital upgrades at Nairn Centre and Elk Lake
  • EACOM announced the reconstruction of its Timmins mill
  • EACOM concluded the negotiation of a global settlement with its insurer for the fire at its Timmins mill

Market conditions have improved compared to 2011. In the United States, housing starts averaged 781,000 units in 2012, up 28% from 2011. In Canada, a similar pattern emerged with housing starts averaging 215,000 units, up 11% from 2011. This improvement in housing activity had a positive impact on lumber consumption and contributed to a much stronger pricing environment and higher mill realizations for the Company. As a result, the Company recorded a positive adjusted EBITDA of $2,481,000 for the year ended December 31, 2012, against a negative adjusted EBITDA of $26,285,000 in 2011.

During the second half of 2012, the Company completed capital upgrades targeted at increasing the production capacity at two of its mills, Nairn Centre and Elk Lake. These upgrades are expected to partially offset the capacity lost at Timmins and mitigate some of the damages incurred as a result of the fire. On December 12, 2012, the Company entered into an agreement with USNR Kockums Cancar Inc. to rebuild the Timmins mill. The total cost of the project is estimated at $25,000,000, of which $18,900,000 will be funded from the proceeds of insurance. Construction is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2013.

Subsequent to year-end, the Company concluded with its insurer the negotiation of a global settlement in the amount of $48,250,000 for the fire at its Timmins mill. The Company received advances for an aggregate amount of $30,600,000 in 2012 and, subsequent to year-end, collected the remaining proceeds of $17,400,000 (net of a $250,000 deductible).

'The Company generated a positive adjusted EBITDA of $3.4 million in the fourth quarter and $2.5 million in 2012. Current lumber markets have improved due to a stronger U.S. housing market. In 2013, the Company will focus on its cost reduction efforts to increase productivity and improve recovery', stated Rick Doman, President and CEO.

YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2012 vs. YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2011

For the year ended December 31, 2012, net earnings attributable to shareholders amounted to $4,285,000 or $0.01 per common share, against a net loss of $47,412,000 or $0.10 per common share in 2011. The 2012 results include a gain of $15,183,000 on disposal of property, plant and equipment destroyed by fire whereas the 2011 results included an impairment charge of $15,000,000, partially offset by a gain of $4,339,000 on the sale of the Big River mill and a $3,769,000 recovery of income taxes.

In 2012, the Company recorded sales of $248,937,000, down 11% against sales of $279,967,000 in 2011. The Company's sales include both lumber and by-product sales. In 2012, the Company shipped 506 million board feet of lumber (621 million board feet in 2011) and 476,000 oven-dried metric tons of by-products (568,000 oven-dried metric tons in 2011). Compared to 2011, shipments reflect lower production volumes.

Pricing has improved in 2012 with benchmark lumber prices averaging US$371/Mfbm for studs and US$395/Mfbm for random lengths delivered Great Lakes, up 17% and 15% from US$316/Mfbm and US$343/Mfbm respectively in 2011. Mill realizations also benefited from a slightly softer Canadian dollar with the exchange rate averaging 1.001 US$/Cdn$ in 2012, down 1% against an average of 1.011 US$/Cdn$ in 2011. The mix of lumber grades sold during those periods has remained similar. However the overall prices of by-products decreased during the fourth quarter as a result of Val d'Or and Matagami resuming operations within the context of a competitive by-products market generating lower chip prices.

Lumber production in 2012 was 447 million board feet of lumber, against 522 million board feet in 2011. In 2012, the Company operated at 44% of its capacity with two of its eight mills idled (53% in the corresponding period of 2011 with no change to idled mills). Operations in Val-d'Or and Matagami, which had been temporarily shut down since the second half of 2011 due to weak market conditions, resumed in the third quarter of 2012, and the Timmins mill closed on January 22, 2012 due to the fire at the mill site. The volume lost in respect of these closures has been partially offset by the additional production at Elk Lake following the acquisition of the remaining one-third interest in that mill in the third quarter of 2011, and by the addition of a third shift at Nairn at the end of the first quarter of 2012.

QUARTER ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2012 vs. QUARTERS ENDED SEPTEMBER 30, 2012 AND DECEMBER 31, 2011

For the quarter ended December 31, 2012, the net loss attributable to shareholders amounted to $388,000 or $0.00 per common share, against a net loss of $964,000 or $0.00 per common share in the previous quarter and a net loss of $27,055,000 or $0.06 per common share in the corresponding quarter of 2011. In the corresponding quarter of 2011, the Company recorded an impairment charge of $15,000,000.

During the fourth quarter of 2012, housing starts in the United States averaged 898,000 units, up 16% from the previous quarter and, more significantly, 32% from the fourth quarter of 2011. In Canada, housing starts were mixed, down 8% from the previous quarter but up 2% from the corresponding quarter of 2011. The improvement in the U.S. housing activity had a positive impact on lumber consumption and contributed to a strong pricing environment. As a result, the Company recorded a positive adjusted EBITDA of $3,383,000 for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2012, against a positive adjusted EBITDA of $1,482,000 in the previous quarter and a negative adjusted EBITDA of $8,554,000 in the corresponding quarter of 2011.

For the quarter ended December 31, 2012, the Company recorded sales of $60,360,000, down 5% against sales of $63,380,000 in the previous quarter and 11% against sales of $67,445,000 in the corresponding quarter of 2011. During the quarter, the Company shipped 120 million board feet of lumber (125 million board feet in the previous quarter and 156 million board feet in the corresponding quarter of 2011) and 110,000 oven-dried metric tons of by-products (127,000 oven-dried metric tons in the previous quarter and 129,000 oven-dried metric tons in the corresponding quarter of 2011). Compared to the previous quarter and the corresponding quarter of 2011, shipments reflect lower production volumes and inventory changes.

Pricing has improved again in the fourth quarter of 2012 with benchmark lumber prices averaging US$426/Mfbm for random lengths delivered Great Lakes, up 5% from US$404/Mfbm in the previous quarter. However, pricing for studs was somewhat mixed during the quarter, averaging US$375/Mfbm against US$394/Mfbm in the previous quarter. The Canadian dollar remained stable with the exchange rate relative to the US$ averaging 1.009 in the fourth quarter against an average of 1.005 US$/Cdn$ in the previous quarter. Compared to the corresponding quarter of 2011, random lengths and studs are trading at prices 31% and 23% above the levels achieved last year.

Lumber production in the fourth quarter of 2012 was 113 million board feet of lumber, against 112 million board feet in the previous quarter and 111 million board feet in the corresponding quarter of 2011. During the fourth quarter, the Company operated at 46% of its capacity (45% during the previous quarter and 45% in the corresponding quarter of 2011). The most significant changes include some downtime taken at Elk Lake during the fourth quarter of 2012 when the mill went through a substantial capital upgrade, the mills in Val-d'Or and Matagami resuming their operations in the third quarter of 2012, and the capacity lost at Timmins as a result of the fire.

FINANCIAL POSITION

At December 31, 2012, the Company had cash and cash equivalents of $27,028,000 and restricted cash of $6,664,000 ($14,268,000 and nil respectively at December 31, 2011). Its credit facility was undrawn against a borrowing availability of $10,200,000 ($2,000,000 drawn against a borrowing availability of $3,822,000 at December 31, 2011).

During the second quarter of 2012, the Company closed a $40 million senior secured debenture financing and repaid the remaining $2,000,000 of advances under its revolving credit facility. Pursuant to the terms of the $40 million senior secured debentures, insurance proceeds of $10,000,000 received in respect of the property damage claim have been segregated and shown as restricted cash pending the reconstruction of the Timmins mill. This amount was reduced to $6,664,000 following the initial payment made upon signature of the USNR contract in the fourth quarter of 2012.

In 2012, a substantial portion of the $24,658,000 in capital spending was targeted at improving the production capacity at two of the Company's mills, Nairn Centre and Elk Lake, to partially offset the capacity lost at Timmins and mitigate the losses incurred as a result of the fire. A portion of these investments will be reimbursed under the business interruption claim.

About EACOM

EACOM Timber Corporation is a TSX-V listed company. The business activities of EACOM consist of the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of lumber, wood chips and wood-based value-added products, and the management of forest resources. EACOM owns eight sawmills, all located in Eastern Canada, and related tenures. The mills are Timmins, Nairn Centre, Gogama, Elk Lake and Ear Falls in Ontario, and Val-d'Or, Ste-Marie and Matagami in Quebec. The mills in Ear Falls, Ontario and Ste-Marie, Quebec are currently idled. As a result of improved market conditions, operations in Val-d'Or and Matagami which had been temporarily shut down in 2011 resumed during the third quarter of 2012. The mill in Timmins was seriously damaged by fire in January 2012 and remains shut down. EACOM also owns a lumber remanufacturing facility in Val-d'Or, Quebec, and a 50% interest in an "I" joist plant in Sault Ste-Marie, Ontario.

The TSX Venture Exchange has neither approved nor disapproved the content of this press release. All director and officer appointments are subject to TSX Venture Exchange approval.

Forward-Looking Statements

All statements in this news release that are not based on historical facts are "forward-looking statements". While management has based any forward-looking statements contained herein on its current expectations, the information on which such expectations were based may change. These forward-looking statements rely on a number of assumptions concerning future events and are subject to a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors, many of which are beyond our control and could cause actual results to materially differ from such statements. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors include, but are not necessarily limited to, those set forth under "RISKS AND UNCERTAINTIES" in the Company's current MD&A, and under "RISK FACTORS" in the Company's Filing Statement dated January 8, 2010.

The financial information included in this release also contains certain data that are not measures of performance under IFRS. For example, "EBITDA" and "Adjusted EBITDA" are measures used by management to assess the operating and financial performance of the Company. We believe that EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA are measures often used by investors to assess a company's operating performance. EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA have limitations and you should not consider these items in isolation, or as substitutes for an analysis of our results as reported under IFRS. Because of these limitations, EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA should not be used as substitutes for net loss or cash flows from operating activities as determined in accordance with IFRS, nor are they necessarily indicative of whether or not cash flows will be sufficient to fund our cash requirements. In addition, our definition of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA may differ from those of other companies. A reconciliation of EBITDA and Adjusted EBITDA to net loss attributable to shareholders is set forth under "Supplemental Information on Non-GAAP Measures" in the Company's current MD&A.

Additional information relating to EACOM is available at www.eacom.ca and on SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

SELECTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND OPERATING STATISTICS (YEAR)

The following table provides an overview of the Company's financial results for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011, along with some key operating metrics.

       
(in thousands of dollars, except where otherwise noted)      
  2012   2011
Sales 248,937   279,967
Operating income (loss) (7,436)   (54,263)
Net earnings (loss) attributable to shareholders 4,285   (47,412)
Average lumber price in US$ - RL 2×4 #1&2(1) 395   343
Average lumber price in US$ - Stud 2×4×8(1) 371   316
Average exchange rate (US$ per C$1.00) 1.001   1.011
Production - SPF lumber (MMfbm) 447   522
Shipments - SPF lumber (MMfbm) 407   535
Shipments - wholesale lumber (MMfbm) 99   86
Cdn. housing starts (thousands of units) 215   194
U.S. housing starts (thousands of units) 781   612
(1) Eastern spruce/pine/fir, per thousand board feet delivered Great Lakes (Source: Random Lengths Publications, Inc.)


The following table reconciles the Company's net loss attributable to shareholders, as reported in accordance with IFRS, to EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA for the years ended December 31, 2012 and 2011.

       
(in thousands of dollars)      
  2012   2011
Net earnings (loss) attributable to shareholders 4,285   (47,412)
Add (subtract):      
Depreciation 9,804   13,457
Financing expense 5,208   1,459
Income tax recovery -   (3,769)
EBITDA 19,297   (36,265)
Share of earnings in a joint venture (326)   (608)
Gain on disposal of property, plant and equipment (15,207)   (4,412)
Gain on business interruption (1,283)   -
Impairment charge -   15,000
Adjusted EBITDA 2,481   (26,285)


SELECTED FINANCIAL INFORMATION AND OPERATING STATISTICS (QUARTER)

The following table provides an overview of the Company's financial results for the quarters ended December 31, 2012, September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011, along with some key operating metrics.

           
(in thousands of dollars, except where otherwise noted) Q4   Q3   Q4
  2012   2012   2011
Sales 60,360   63,380   67,445
Operating income (loss) 891   (900)   (27,347)
Net earnings (loss) attributable to shareholders (388)   (964)   (27,055)
Average lumber price in US$ - RL 2×4 #1&2(1) 426   404   326
Average lumber price in US$ - Stud 2×4×8(1) 375   394   304
Average exchange rate (US$ per C$1.00) 1.009   1.005   0.977
Production - SPF lumber (MMfbm) 113   112   111
Shipments - SPF lumber (MMfbm) 98   100   133
Shipments - wholesale lumber (MMfbm) 22   25   23
Cdn. housing starts (thousands of units) 204   222   200
U.S. housing starts (thousands of units) 898   774   678
(1) Eastern spruce/pine/fir, per thousand board feet delivered Great Lakes (Source: Random Lengths Publications, Inc.)


The following table reconciles the Company's net loss attributable to shareholders, as reported in accordance with IFRS, to EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA for the quarters ended December 31, 2012, September 30, 2012 and December 31, 2011.

           
(in thousands of dollars) Q4   Q3   Q4
  2012   2012   2011
Net earnings (loss) attributable to shareholders (388)   (964)   (27,055)
Add (subtract):          
Depreciation 2,396   2,585   3,400
Financing expense 1,769   1,652   325
EBITDA 3,777   3,273   (23,330)
Share of earnings in a joint venture 181   (94)   (236)
Gain on disposal of property, plant and equipment (924)   (1)   12
Gain on business interruption 349   (1,696)   -
Impairment charge -   -   15,000
Adjusted EBITDA 3,383   1,482   (8,554)

 

SOURCE: EACOM

For further information:

Investors:
Marc Girard
Executive Vice-President and Chief Financial Officer
(514) 848-5133

Media Relations:
Frédéric Bérard
H+K Stratégies
(514) 395-0375 ext. 259