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Norbord Inc. tightened its losses in the third quarter, but the wood panel maker was still affected by troubles in the U.S. housing market.

The Toronto-based company said Friday that its losses were $1-million (U.S.) or two cents per share in the three months ended Oct. 1.

The results compare to a deeper loss of $4-million or nine cents per share in the same period ended Sept. 25, 2010.

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Sales rose to $242-million from $229-million, while oriented strand board prices held steady.

President and CEO Barrie Shineton said the results were turned out "in spite of persistently difficult markets."

"I am especially pleased that our margin improvement program continues to deliver better mill productivity and lower raw materials usage," he said in a release.

"Both are key to offsetting the negative impact of higher raw material input prices."

Mr. Shineton highlighted that the U.S. housing market is stagnant, but that the company has responded by shifting its sales volume to other areas.

In Europe, oriented strand board prices remain stable despite the shaky economy, he said.

"While I still expect panel markets in Europe to soften, we did not see any meaningful impact on our business in the third quarter," he added.

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Norbord, with 2,030 employees, is an international producer of wood-based panels such as oriented strandboard, particleboard and fibreboard used in homebuilding, furniture making and construction.

The company is controlled by the Brookfield Asset Management and operates 13 plants in Canada, the United States and Europe.

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