Wood & Panel

West Fraser invests in OSB mill

 Thursday, December 23, 2021

An oriented strandboard plant in Allendale, SC will now have its third ownership since starting up in 2006. West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. is purchasing the facility from Georgia-Pacific for $280 million. The Allendale facility has been idle since late 2019 when GP shut it down citing market conditions. The plant has an estimated annual production capacity of 760MMSF (3/8 in. basis).

West Fraser intends to invest $70 million to upgrade and optimize the facility in preparation for a restart in nine months. The mill is expected to employ 135. West Fraser states the mill will be one of the lowest cost mills in the company’s OSB portfolio after the optimization is completed and the mill has ramped up to full production, a process that it says typically takes 18-24 months after restart.

In 2005 Ontario-based Grant Forest Products announced it would invest $400 million in building two OSB mills in South Carolina, one in Allendale and the other in Alcolu in Clarendon County. When the U.S. economy went into a recession Grant sold the two OSB plants to Georgia-Pacific in 2010. In 2019 GP idled the Allendale OSB facility along with a sawmill in South Carolina.

Early this year West Fraser entered the OSB arena when it completed the purchase of Norbord Inc., the world’s largest OSB producer, for $3.1 billion. Norbord operated 15 OSB mills in the U.S., Europe and Canada. West Fraser was known primarily as a sawmill company, while operating a handful of non-OSB panel facilities.

GP continues to own five OSB plants in North America.

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