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Overview

The forest industry in British Columbia has in recent years faced some of the most challenging market conditions it has ever had to contend with: poor lumber markets and prices resulting from an oversupply of housing in the United States, major issues concerning the availability of credit, as evidenced by the recent global financial crisis, and major shifts in U.S./Canadian exchange rates and rising energy and other costs. In addition, the Canadian lumber industry has had to deal with the softwood lumber export tax at prevailing low price levels as well as the worsening effects of pine beetle and other problems with timber supply. As a result of these factors, the Canadian forest industry is experiencing an unprecedented number of facility closures, significant restructurings and bankruptcies and the resultant permanent or long term declines in production capacity. The Canadian pulp industry has seen improved prices with restricted chip supply and facility closures.

As a consequence of these factors and market conditions, recent levels of merger and acquisition activity and expansion of processing facilities have dropped off, but consolidation and acquisition activity can be expected to increase again as the industry progresses through this cycle. One area of growth has been the development of wood waste energy projects, as a result of both the emphasis on alternative energy possibilities and the impact on fibre supply of the pine beetle epidemic.

From the inception of the firm, Lawson Lundell lawyers have been closely involved in providing legal advice to the forest industry in all aspects of its business including:

  • Mergers and acquisitions
  • Stock exchange and securities law compliance, including corporate governance
  • Mill acquisitions and dispositions
  • Financings
  • Joint ventures
  • Timber and chip supply contracts
  • Project construction and development
  • Environmental assessment and permitting
  • Compliance with forest practices and sustainability regulations and worker health and safety provisions
  • Waste management and pest control regulation
  • Indigenous consultation and impact benefit agreements

Experience

Experience

Our experience includes:

  • The merger by arrangement of two of Canada’s largest public forest products companies
  • Acquisitions and dispositions by public and private forest companies of sawmilling facilities and forest tenures in both the interior and coastal regions of British Columbia
  • Establishment and negotiation of long term debt facilities for major Canadian forest products companies
  • Restructuring of long-term debt of a British Columbia pulp and newsprint producer
  • Negotiation of joint venture arrangements for an OSB plant in northern British Columbia
  • Negotiation of complex fibre supply contracts and sales agreements
  • Structuring of debt financing for the acquisition of a U.S. recycled newsprint facility
  • Representation of forest product companies in numerous compliance and enforcement actions relating to forestry, environment and worker health and safety
  • Assisting in obtaining all required permits and completing environmental assessment procedures for an OSB plant in Northern British Columbia
  • Negotiation of a memorandum of agreement for forestry activities in British Columbia with First Nations

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