David Connacher, Marketing Manager, West Fraser, answers our questions on the recent developments at a familiar name in building materials.
Q. It must be more than thirty years since Professional Builder first travelled all the way up to Inverness to learn more about a new type of engineered wood building board with a host of applications in flooring, roofing and panelling for the construction industry. The company and, of course, the OSB product range has come a very long way since then and now we understand that there have been some further significant developments within the business?
A. Yes, that’s right, the company has recently been acquired by one of the biggest wood products companies in the world: West Fraser. It is a diversified wood product business with more than 60 facilities in Canada, the United States and Europe. It was founded in 1955 when three brothers – Sam, Bill and Pete Ketcham – who pooled their resources to buy a small planing mill in Quesnel, British Columbia, Canada
From responsibly sourced and sustainably managed forest resources, West Fraser produces lumber, engineered wood (OSB, LVL, MDF, plywood, particleboard), and other products, including pulp, newsprint, wood chips and renewable energy. These products are used in construction, repair and remodelling, industrial applications, papers, tissue and box materials. You can find out more about the company at www.westfraser.com
Q. What’s the thinking behind the acquisition and what benefits does it bring to the end users?
A. The two companies are much aligned and share many common values, including a commitment to safety, efficient manufacturing facilities, a focus on continuous improvement and teamwork, as well as manufacturing sustainable products that are essential for a low-carbon economy. Product development and efficient supply chains will also be at the crux of the new organisation due to the merging of experienced teams.
Q. Will customers notice any changes to supply or branding etc?
A. Absolutely nothing will change in the way we go about our daily business. The people are the same, the products are the same, the plants are the same – Norbord Europe now becomes the European arm of West Fraser following the acquisition – and a bright future awaits.
Q. Can we expect any products to change in the way they are made?
A. A resounding NO to that! The existing brands are market-leading and hugely successful. They are well known and have been part of the UK business landscape for many decades. They will remain as they are – the company’s stock-in-trade – literally. SterlingOSB Zero, CaberBoard, CaberFloor and CaberWood MDF, for example, will all be readily available to meet the growing upturn in building after lockdown through our extensive merchant distribution channels.
Simon Woods, European Sales, Marketing & Logistics Director, West Fraser explains:
“The joining of our two companies is a very exciting move for us in Europe. To list West Fraser’s long standing core beliefs – efficiency, modern mills, responsibility and leadership in environmental performance the active involvement of employees in the business, a commitment to safety and a relentless pursuit of excellence in everything we do – is to echo Norbord’s. There is a huge opportunity for us to grow and develop in Europe – together. We are looking forward to a bright future!”
For further information on Norbord visit https://www.norbord.co.uk/