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West Fraser takes over Cariboo Pulp and Paper mill By Investing.com

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VANCOUVER – West Fraser Timber Co (NYSE:). Ltd. and Mercer International (NASDAQ:) Inc. have mutually agreed to dissolve their joint venture in Cariboo Pulp and Paper, with West Fraser set to become the sole owner and operator. The mill, situated in Quesnel, British Columbia, boasts an annual production capacity of 340,000 tonnes of Northern Bleached Softwood Kraft pulp and provides employment to nearly 300 people.

Sean McLaren, President and CEO of West Fraser, expressed that the transition will allow the company to better support the mill and offer stability to its workforce. Mercer’s CEO, Juan Carlos Bueno, mentioned that the move aligns with their strategic priorities, enabling them to focus resources on areas that better match their long-term goals. No financial terms are required for the termination of the joint venture. Mercer will retain some finished product inventory and expects to record a non-cash impairment in the first quarter due to the dissolution.

The Cariboo Pulp and Paper mill has been a significant part of the Quesnel forestry community since 1972. West Fraser, a diversified wood products company, operates over 60 facilities and produces a wide range of products from sustainably managed forests. Mercer International is a global forest products company with substantial operations and production capacities across various countries.

InvestingPro Insights

As Mercer International Inc. (Mercer) pivots from its joint venture with West Fraser Timber Co. Ltd., a closer look at the company’s financial health and market performance reveals some challenges and considerations for investors. Mercer operates with a heavy debt burden and has been quickly burning through cash, which may raise concerns about the company’s long-term financial sustainability. Additionally, Mercer has been struggling with weak gross profit margins, which, according to InvestingPro Tips, might be a factor for the analysts’ consensus that the company will not be profitable this year.

Despite the strategic move to dissolve the joint venture, Mercer’s recent financial data underlines the issues it faces. The company’s P/E Ratio (Adjusted) for the last twelve months as of Q4 2023 stands at -2.94, indicating that it is not generating profit relative to its share price. The Gross Profit Margin over the same period is reported at 6.43%, which is low and reflects the company’s challenges in maintaining profitability. Moreover, Mercer’s Revenue Growth for Q4 2023 shows a decline of…

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