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West Fraser Timber shuts down takeover report; shares spike

Company says it has not received a proposal and there are no ongoing discussions
Softwood lumber is pictured along the Fraser River in Richmond, B.C., Tuesday, April 25, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd. says it has not received any takeover offer after a report that Kronospan, an existing shareholder, and CVC Capital Partners were interested in making a bid for the company.

West Fraser says it previously met with Kronospan and the private equity firm, but it has not received a proposal and there are no ongoing discussions regarding the terms of any transaction.

It says it is focused on “executing on its business strategy to create shareholder value.”

A media report suggested that CVC Capital and wood panel manufacturer Kronospan had submitted a joint expression of interest in buying the company.

Shares in West Fraser closed up 14.7 per cent to $123.83 on Tuesday.

Analyst Paul Quinn of RBC Dominion Securities says there could be “material hurdles” to clear before any transaction could occur.

“We think any deal might need to be friendly,” he wrote in a report.

That’s because West Fraser filings says certain corporate transaction may require approvals from class B shares, which are at least 91 per cent held by the Ketcham family. Billionaire Jim Pattison owns at least nine per cent of common shares.

Quinn also said there could be competition issues related to European OSB concentrations since Kronospan controls about 40 per cent of the market and West Fraser 12 per cent.

“As a result, we expect that a transaction would come under scrutiny from the relevant competition authorities and potentially require divestment of West Fraser’s European OSB assets.”

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