Norbord Inc. reported adjusted EBITDA of $94 million for the second quarter of 2016 versus $19 million in the second quarter of 2015 and $61 million in the first quarter of 2016. The improvement versus both comparative periods is primarily due to higher North American oriented strand board (OSB) prices and shipment volumes. North American operations generated adjusted EBITDA of $85 million in the quarter compared to $11 million in the same quarter last year and $53 million in the prior quarter. European operations delivered adjusted EBITDA of $11 million compared to $10 million in both comparative quarters.
“Our financial and operational performance continued to improve in the second quarter. Our adjusted EBITDA has increased for six consecutive quarters and so far in 2016, we have generated $120 million more in adjusted EBITDA than this time last year. Further, our adjusted earnings were more than double the first quarter,” said Peter Wijnbergen, Norbord’s President and CEO. “Our North American mills produced at 96% of stated capacity during the quarter. The benchmark OSB spot price is currently up 44% since its February low, the highest level in over three years. We see further upside to our performance as recovering US housing starts, particularly single-family, continue to drive increasing OSB demand.”
“In Europe, our panel business delivered a 10% improvement in adjusted EBITDA. The underlying fundamentals of our European business remain favourable in spite of the political uncertainty following the Brexit referendum. The UK is a net importer of panelboard and as a primarily UK-based producer, the recent pressure on the Pound Sterling makes Norbord’s domestically-produced panels more competitive than imports. Our modernization project at Inverness will lower our manufacturing costs and is underpinned by growing European OSB demand, largely driven by increasing substitution of OSB for higher cost plywood.”
Norbord’s North American OSB shipments increased 8% year-over-year and 11% quarter-over-quarter due to fewer maintenance and market shuts and improved mill productivity. Norbord’s operating North American OSB mills produced at 96% of stated capacity (excluding the two curtailed mills in Huguley, Alabama and Val-d’Or, Quebec), up from 89% in the same quarter last year and 92% in the prior quarter. Capacity utilization increased versus both comparative periods due to improved productivity, as well as fewer maintenance shuts and production curtailments, partially offset by approximately three weeks of lost production due to the fire at the High Level, Alberta mill. Three of Norbord’s North American mills achieved quarterly production records.
In Europe, Norbord’s shipments were 5% higher than the same quarter last year and 6% higher than the prior quarter. The European mills produced at 104% of stated capacity in the quarter compared to 101% in the same quarter last year and 100% in the prior quarter due to improved productivity. One of Norbord’s European mills achieved a quarterly production record.
In the 15 months since the merger with Ainsworth, Norbord has captured $32 million in cumulative merger synergies ($39 million annualized), or 87% of the $45 million total commitment. The Company remains on track to deliver its full $45 million target by the end of 2016.
In January 2016, the Board of Directors approved a $135 million investment over the next two years to modernize and expand the company’s Inverness, Scotland OSB mill. During the quarter, on-site construction work commenced and work began to move the unused second press from the Grande Prairie, Alberta mill to Inverness.