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The Globe and Mail

Norbord posts 'better-than-expected' first-quarter loss

Wood panel maker Norbord Inc. posted a "better-than-expected" first-quarter loss of $2-million (U.S.) Thursday on stronger sales in North America and an improved performance by its European operations.

The loss amounted to five cents per share, up from a $7-million or 16 cents per share in the same period a year earlier. Sales rose to $253-million from $197-million.

The Toronto-based company, which reports results in U.S. dollars, said shipments of panels at its European operations were up 29 per cent year-over-year and North American oriented-strand board shipments were up 16 per cent.

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"Our first-quarter results improved from a year ago and were better than we expected," president and CEO Barrie Shineton said in a statement.

"I expect the positive momentum we are seeing in our European business to continue. In North America, I am not discouraged by the slow start to this year. Repair and renovation activity has picked up, existing home sales are recovering, U.S. economic news is improving and unemployment numbers are falling. As a result, I believe we will begin to see stronger housing activity in the second half of 2011."

Shares in the company were down 28 cents or 2 per cent at $12.95 (Canadian) in morning trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.



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