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Toronto-based Norbord Inc. reports lower Q2 earnings of $11 million

TORONTO - Norbord Inc. (TSX:NBD) reported a profit of $11 million in its latest quarter, down from $53 million a year ago, as sales fell compared with the same quarter last year.

The Toronto-based company earned 20 per diluted share in the quarter, compared with 99 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter last year.

The company, which makes wood panels for the home building market, said sales fell to $311 million compared with $365 million year-over-year.

"In North America, homebuilding activity continues to improve," president and CEO Peter Wijnbergen said in a statement on Tuesday.

"But the pace has been held back by labour availability and a lack of entry-level buyers and OSB prices have been disappointing," he said referring to prices for oriented strand board, wood panels that are used in home construction.

Norbord said it has begun rebuilding the press line at its mill in Huguley, Ala., to prepare it for a restart, but has not set a date for a return to operations. Norbord said it will restart the plant only when there's sufficient demand from customers.

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

Norbord noted that the crisis in the Ukraine has hurt demand in Eastern Europe and some production of oriented strand board has been redirected into its markets in Western Europe.

Norbord's shipments in Europe were three per cent lower than the same quarter last year.

Norbord has 13 plants in the United States, Europe and Canada.

RBC Dominion Securities analyst Paul Quinn said the results were higher than expected.

"Management remains optimistic on the U.S. housing recovery in 2014, despite the slow start, and expects stable demand and pricing for the next few months," Quinn said in a note to clients.

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