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West Fraser to Close Pulp Line at Hinton Mill

March 21, 2006 (Press Release) - West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. today announced it will permanently close the No. 1 pulp machine and wood room at its pulp mill in Hinton, Alberta in the fourth quarter of 2006.

"These closures are expected to improve the position of our pulp business by reducing costs and increasing efficiencies," says Hank Ketcham, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer.

As part of Hinton's performance improvement plan, West Fraser will spend approximately $20 million over the next two years to modernize the No. 2 pulp machine to increase its speed and productivity.

"Today's announcement represents decisive action to improve the performance of our kraft pulp business in Hinton," says Gerry Miller, Executive Vice-President, Pulp & Paper.

The operational changes will result in the loss of approximately 100 jobs at Hinton Pulp and reduce by approximately 70,000 tonnes the mill's annual production of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft (NBSK) pulp.

West Fraser expects the closures of the No. 1 pulp machine and wood room in Hinton to result in an after-tax charge related to asset write-downs and restructuring costs of approximately $25 million in the first quarter of 2006.

Built in 1956, Hinton Pulp underwent an expansion in 1989 and was acquired by West Fraser in December 2004 with the purchase of Weldwood. The mill is currently configured with two pulp lines and employs approximately 470 people. In 2005, Hinton produced 420,000 tonnes of NBSK pulp, which was sold to customers in North America and around the world.

West Fraser is an integrated forest products company that produces lumber, LVL, MDF, plywood, pulp, linerboard, kraft paper and newsprint. The Company has manufacturing operations in British Columbia, Alberta and the southern United States. West Fraser has approximately 6,900 employees and is headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia.

SOURCE: West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd




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