The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

Winter weather hurts first-quarter results of wood panel producer Norbord

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TORONTO - Norbord Inc. (TSX: NBD) reports a steep drop in first-quarter earnings to US$7 million, saying severe winter weather held back the construction of new homes in North America.

The wood panel producer, which keeps its books in U.S. dollars, earned 13 cents per share, down from $67 million, or $1.51 per share, in the same quarter last year.

The Toronto-based company said Friday that demand in Europe remained strong, reflecting improving housing markets in the United Kingdom and Germany.

Norbord said it doesn't expect to restart its idled mill in Val-d'Or, Que., this year but will continue to monitor market conditions.

The company said the North Central OSB benchmark price averaged $219 per thousand square feet, compared with $245 in the previous quarter and $417 in the same quarter last year.

In the South East region, where more than half of Norbord's North American capacity is located, benchmark prices averaged $193 per thousand square feet compared to $192 in the previous quarter and $396 in the same quarter last year.

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